Treating in the Present while Training for the Future

On November 26,2017  DVI welcomed the first Tel Aviv Dental School pediatric resident to our clinic. Under the supervision of our director, Dr. Roy Petel, DVI is now officially recognized as a training facility for residents in pediatric dentistry for both the Haddasah School of Dental Medicine at Hebrew University and the Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine at Tel Aviv University. The DVI commitment to excellence on the one hand and patience and warmth on the other, as set forth by our founder Trudi Birger, continues to serve as DVI’s guiding principles and to inspire future generations of professionals.

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International School in Jerusalem Students Volunteer at DVI

Like DVI dentists, diplomats come from all over the world to serve in Israel and their children are educated at the International School in Jerusalem. Last week these forces converged at the DVI clinic.The students packed winter clothing and supplies donated by one of our supporters, Operation Blessing, to be distributed to our needy families. They also helped with office work and planted some plants and fruit bearing trees, including a citron (Etrog) tree whose fruit will eventually also be given out to our patients to help them celebrate the Tabernacle (Sukkot) holiday! Thank you Dr. Berry Stahl for initiating this idea! Pictured far LEFT are the dentists hailing from Arizona (Dr. Jonathan Gutman), Michigan (Dr. Murray Baruch) and Germany (Dr. Maria Stehman) together with the staff and students of the International School.

Student volunteers still smiling after working hard!

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Temple U Dental Dean Visits DVI

Dr. Amid Ismail (left) at the Trudi Birger (z”l) memorial in DVI’s courtyard.

Dr. Amid Ismail, Dean of Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University and member of AFDVI’s Honorary Council, visited DVI’s Trudi Birger Clinic on May 16, 2017, accompanied by immediate-past AFDVI president Dr. Michael Goldberg. Drs Ismail and Goldberg are pictured by the Trudi Birger z”l memorial with DVI Director Dr. Roy Petel. Dr. Ismail was impressed by DVI’s progressive oral health curriculum, unique among free dental clinics; the classroom offers a special opportunity to have a longer term impact on the hygiene and self-care in the lives of low-income patients, whom will hopefully escape the cycle of poverty. Dean Ismail offered to help recruit dentists to volunteer at DVI and was happy to learn about DVI’s work in the diverse Jerusalem community.

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AFDVI Event – New York City – Sunday, November 20,2016

AFDVI Honors the Memory of Captain Ben L. Salomon, American Hero, Dentist and Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

invitation-afdvi-11-2016Sunday, November 20, 2016

5:00 PM – Reception

6:00 PM – Presentation followed by Q&A

Septodont Lecture Hall – NYU College of Dentistry

Click here to register for this event to benefit DVI’s Trudi Birger Clinic.

A display at Yad VaShem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, is dedicated to the three Jewish servicemen in World War II who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Captain Ben L. Salomon is one of those heroes, and the only dentist to be awarded that honor.

A dental officer on the island of Saipan in July of 1944, Captain Salomon gave his life for his country while protecting wounded soldiers in his care at a field hospital. He died in battle, but only after he had killed 98 enemy soldiers so that his wounded patients could be successfully evacuated. His last words were, “I’ll hold them off until you get [the wounded men] to safety.”

His commanding officer immediately nominated him for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but the General in charge of operations on Saipan incorrectly decided he was ineligible because he was a medical officer.

Captain Salomon received his undergraduate and dental degrees from the USC School of Dentistry, and it was due to the unwavering commitment of several USC alumni, most notably Dr. Robert West and others, including Major General Patrick D. Sculley (Ret), former Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army, and Chief of the Dental Corps, that the honor was bestowed on Captain Salomon 58 years later.

On May 1, 2002, President George W. Bush awarded Captain Salomon the Congressional Medal of Honor. Dr. West, representing the USC School of Dentistry, received the award on his behalf as sadly there were no living relatives to accept it. At the time of his retirement, Major General Sculley’s last official act on active duty was to present Captain Salomon’s medal to the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum (AMEDD) where it is currently on display.

American Friends of DVI will dedicate the evening of Sunday, November, 20, 2016 to Captain Salomon so that all will know and remember his courage and sacrifice. NBC News Military Analyst, Colonel Jack H. Jacobs (Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient himself, will give the keynote address. His insight into what happens in battle and what is happening now, in our tumultuous world, offers a unique perspective which will be of much interest to DVI’s supporters.

Major General Sculley will also speak. He will help us understand how Captain Salomon’s incredible story evolved. A Q&A session with both speakers will take place following their presentations.

DVI founder Trudi Birger was a strong and courageous person who put others before herself, much like Captain Salomon. A Survivor of the Holocaust, Trudi vowed, “If I survive, I will do whatever I can to make sure that no children suffer the way I have.” With your support Trudi’s dream lives on. Please join us on November 20th to honor Captain Salomon and renew Trudi’s vow.

For more information and registration please visit the website of the American Friends of DVI.

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Premier Chairman Rabbi Gary Charlestein Visits DVI

Rabbi Gary Charlestein, Chairman of Premier left visited DVI to drop off yet another generous donation of requested supplies; pictured here with DVI clinic director Dr. Roy Petel center and (volunteering dentist) Dr. Sheldon Bernick right of Philadelphia. Rabbi Charlestein, also of Philadelphia, and Premier Dental Manufacturers are long time supporters of Dental Volunteers for Israel.Sheldon Bernick Roy Petel Gary Charlestein June 2016

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DVI visit to Finnish Embassy in Israel

Dr. Kristiina Rämö, Dr. Roy Petel, and Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola‏ at the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Dr. Kristiina Rämö, Dr. Roy Petel, and Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola‏ at the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

On April 13, 2016, DVI’s Director Dr. Roy Petel and DVI volunteer dentist Dr. Kristiina Rämö, and her spouse Professor Tapani Rämö visited the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv. They met with Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola, who learned about DVI and was very interested. Dr. Rämö has been volunteering at DVI since 2006; other Finnish dentists have been volunteering at DVI since the 1980s. The ambassador expressed her desire to visit the clinic and see firsthand the treatments provided by the volunteer dentists to needy Jerusalem youth.

Drs Roy Petel and Kristiina Rämö at Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv

Drs Roy Petel and Kristiina Rämö at Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv

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EAPD leaders visit DVI!

Monty Duggal DDS MDS PhD (UK) and Constantine J. Oulis MSc. PhD (Greece) of the EAPD at DVI

Monty Duggal DDS MDS PhD (UK) and Constantine J. Oulis MSc. PhD (Greece) of the EAPD at DVI

Representatives from the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry visited DVI on April 4th, 2016, to tour the clinic and learn more about volunteering while performing pediatric dentistry to a high standard.

The purpose of their visit to Israel was to give accreditation to the department of pediatric dentistry of Hadassah and the Hebrew University so that the program will be recognized in Europe.

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Back at the DVI clinic in Israel, DVI staff members sporting DVI’s 35th Anniversary Gala Pins.

Peace Starts with a Smile.2015-12-10 Staff wearing Gala pins

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DVI’s Dr. Roy Petel and Michelle Levine manned the AFDVI booth at the Greater New York Dental Meeting and met hundreds of dentists and potential corporate sponsors!

Roy and Michelle at 35th Gala booth

Dr. Michael Goldberg, Immediate Past President, At-Large Director, Dr. Scott Dubowsky, President of AFDVI, and DVI General Director, Dr. Roy Petel, visited the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Roy, Michael and Scott at the American Embassy


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DVI’s 35th Anniversary Gala – NYC’s showstopping event in 2015

DVI’s 35th Anniversary Gala – A Cocktail Reception, Dinner & Celebration To be Remembered!

On November 29th AFDVI celebrated DVI’s 35th Anniversary in style! Former United States Senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman, as keynote speaker, praised DVI for serving as a beacon of hope in Jerusalem:

“Almost everybody you talk to in Israel – they’re yearning for peace..they would really love to create a situation with the Palestinians where there was peace for both sides. But frankly most of them have given up on the process because they don’t see leadership on the other side that is committed to making that happen. This is one of the reasons that I so deeply respect what Dental Volunteers for Israel does. In the first instance, I respect it because you’re all doing something you don’t have to do; you have practices and your lives – this was not necessary for you to do. You did it because you thought you could be of help. I believe you have the satisfaction that is unique to anyone when we serve a cause that is is larger than ourselves. We know that we’re making a difference. The skills that you have as members of the dental profession. And it is the midst of all the division, frustrated yearning for peace that you do create an island of hope in Jerusalem…you’re open to serve Jews, Arabs, Christians, whatever. And, I think in doing so, you not only help those people, but you create an example – a sort of beacon or modality that will infuse on the entire region – and certainly the relationship between Jews and Palestinians. So I admire you greatly for that.”

Senator Lieberman also received an award on behalf of the B.L. Manger Foundation which he chairs. The event, held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, was attended by dentists from across the US and several important supporters from abroad, including Septodont President Olivier Schiller. Many other notable dental industry leaders and staunch DVI supporters including Henry Schein’s CEO Stan Bergman and Premier’s leadership Julie and Rabbi Gary Charlestein attended and shmoozed with the crowd.


Dr. John Bengtson, 19-time DVI Volunteer and Ms. Edlawit Agdea, his former patient.

Former DVI patient Edi Agdea, now studying nursing in Texas, came and spoke poignantly about the impact DVI made in her life, with Dr. John Bengtson, the DVI volunteer dentist who treated her, speaking with her – their presence, side-by-side, was emotionally moving, especially as it was obvious how much they enjoyed each other’s company and were so delighted to see one another. This really brought the message home to everyone that DVI is one global family.

The event was a stunning victory for DVI’s wonderful support network in the US. DVI’s staff and board of directors thanks everyone for helping make its 35th year a phenomenal success!

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