Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the requirements to volunteer at the clinic?
DVI welcomes all dentists with a minimum of two years experience if you
- have a current license in your country that has not been suspended
- feel comfortable doing operative dentistry on children – you do not have to be a pediatric dentist (we always need Endodontists volunteering, so if you know an endo, please spread the word!)
- are members in good standing of DVI or a “Friends of DVI” group if there is one in your country.
- though we would like to accept all potential volunteers, we cannot accept dental assistants, dental students, and hygienists – as the Ministry of Health will not grant them temporary permits to practice in Israel.
2. How do I initiate the process of volunteering?
In order to volunteer please fill out our application form (available on our website). After completing the form you may fax them to our volunteer coordinator at +972-2-678-4737 or email them to email@example.com.
3. How far in advance should I schedule?
In order to be sure you’ll get the exact week(s) you want, please contact us at least a full year in advance. With less than a full year’s notice, we can not guarantee that the week(s) you prefer will be available. However, there are occasionally last-minute cancellations, and if your preferred week is not available, we are happy to put you on a waiting list – you may get the week you want, but with perhaps only a few weeks advance notice. We’d love to have you, so…if you are flexible, and interested in a last-minute trip to Israel, please let us know – you may be able to save our children from having their appointments suddenly canceled!
4. Is there a local dentist I can speak to about the volunteer experience?
Yes, contact the Representative for your country – listed here. They have volunteered many times and are very familiar with the experience.
5. I’m still waiting for my certificate of good standing from the officials in my country. Is my (your-country-here)-language license and diploma sufficient?
Israel’s Ministry of Health will only begin to process our application for your temporary permit to practice dentistry in Israel once we send them your current valid dental license from your country,or a Certificate of Good Standing when there is no expiration date on the license from your country. We need this license/certificate at least three months in advance, or we cannot be certain you will be able to work in the clinic.
6. What are the hours of operation for the dental clinic?
The DVI clinic is open for a four-day workweek: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The clinic hours are from 8 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. on Sunday through Tuesday and from 8 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. on Thursday. The clinic operates 50 weeks out of the year except for legal Israeli holidays.
7. What about insurance?
The clinic is insured for dental malpractice for all the volunteers that work here. Make sure to organize appropriate travel insurance for the whole period you are away from home.
8. Do I need to bring scrubs, loupes, equipment, etc?
DVI is fully – and well – equipped thanks to a few special donors, and will provide you with scrubs, hand pieces, and the equipment you’ll need. If you use them, please bring your own loupes. We will also ask you to bring some dental supplies of which we are running short. As a gesture, our young patients appreciate little prizes that you may want to bring for this purpose. Please do NOT bring any dental supplies without checking with us first – we wouldn’t want you to bring things that we don’t need/use.
9. Does the DVI clinic have a routine clinical staff?
The DVI clinic Director, Dr. Roy Petel, is a pediatric dentist. He determines the course of treatment and supervises all the work produced. The clinic has five multi-lingual dental assistants. They are highly skilled, speak English and will help you to communicate with the patients and their parents. There is also a full-time hygienist and an Oral Health Education program which is conducted simultaneously with the clinic appointments.
10. How will I communicate with the patients if I don’t speak Hebrew?
It is not necessary to speak Hebrew to volunteer at the clinic. Our dental assistants will be happy to translate for you, if necessary. Many of our older patients understand some English, which they learn in school. Also, in our volunteers’ experience, the children get much more from your tone of voice and general attitude than the words you use – they know that you have come from overseas specially to treat them, and the caring way that you relate to them, whatever the words you use, makes all the difference.
11. Are there accommodations provided for volunteers?
DVI provides all volunteers and their family with cost- free apartments located in Jerusalem. All apartments are available from Friday around 12 noon to the following Friday until 9 A.M. Linens and towels are provided in the apartment, and there are basic kitchen supplies in the functional kitchen. Every apartment has wireless internet, and there is a grocery store of some kind close to each apartment.
12. Can we bring guests to stay in the apartment too?
Definitely! Each of our apartments have room for a couple and at least one additional person. If you would like to bring more people, please let us know ASAP, so that we can provide the appropriate amount of sheets and towels.
13. Is there anyone to pick us up from the airport?
We are not able to provide airport pick up, but there are Nesher shared taxis (airport shuttle) – which operate 24 hours a day – and are located outside baggage claim near the taxis. Nesher will charge you approximately 66 NIS per person (there are Change & ATM machines in the airport but Nesher will take dollars) and will take you – and all of your luggage – directly to the apartment. We can arrange for them to pick you up at the apartment and take you to the airport for your return flight.
Please keep in mind that this is a shared taxi with up to 10 other people, so you may be in for a long ride. Also, make sure to confirm the price with the driver BEFORE boarding the van.
14. What costs might I anticipate?
You will have to cover your airfare, food and entertainment while you are here. Your plane fare and other fees involved with your trip may be fully deductible under the IRS regulations as a business expense in the USA and some countries in Europe. All volunteer dentists must agree to pay an annual membership donation of €360 or $360 (depending on residence) in order for your week to be confirmed.
15. What can I expect to do when I’m not working?
Israel is a very small country, so you can easily travel around to the wonderful historical and cultural sites. You can also just stay in Jerusalem where there are always fascinating tours, museums, concerts, shopping and sports events. We are happy to make suggestions based on your interests.
16. How can I plan a trip or tour for a group?
If you want to plan a tour anywhere in Israel, to Jordan, Bethlehem, with a group, or want a tour guide, email us with your desired destination and we’ll make a current recommendation.
17. How we are going to get around in Jerusalem? Can we take public transportation from the apartment to work and back? How expensive is that?
The “Egged” bus system in Jerusalem runs buses from 6 A.M. until midnight – there is more information in the “Volunteer Kit” we will send you via email. You will need a bus card (called “RavKav”) to take the bus, as buses do not accept cash. When you are at the clinic the first day, we will help you obtain bus cards. Alternately, you can obtain one at the Cental Bus Station or any place that sells bus cards. There are Rav Kav stations in most major shopping malls in Jerusalem.
The new light rail in Jerusalem also runs from 5:30 am until midnight, and costs the same as the bus.
18. What about Rental Cars – how expensive is that?
You can rent a car and we’ll recommend the current cheapest company (By the way, rental cars are much cheaper to rent from Jerusalem than from the airport!) However, many dentists have received parking tickets from the Municipality, as legal parking in Jerusalem is difficult to understand. You may want to rent a car just for the weekends, for touring Israel.
One of our apartments has free parking, so if you know in advance that you will be renting a car, please let us know and we will do our best to place you in this apartment.
19. How do I pay for street parking since there are no parking meters?
The easiest and least expensive form of paid parking is using the cell phone application called “CelloPark.” If you have an Israeli cell phone number during your stay, you can do this directly on your phone. All the directions are in English. If you do not have a local number, after downloading the app, enter the DVI cell number which is 058-638-6235. A code will be sent to that phone so you will need to coordinate with the volunteer coordinator. Be sure to remove previous license plate numbers that will appear in the online form and add a new payment line with your credit card number.
20. Is there a telecommunication company which will sell me a pre-paid SIM card for use for domestic calls in Israel?
As long as your cell phone is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM card online. The two cheapest plans which we have found are through www.israelsims.com and www.cellularabroad.com/israelSIMcard.php
SIM cards can also be purchased in Israel in various stores, including in the airport and about a block away from the DVI clinic – and this is really the BEST option.
21. Is there anything I can do to help, in addition to my volunteering?
Yes!! There are lots of ways you can help our clinic to thrive:
- Recruit new dentists to volunteer – especially Pedodontists and Endodontists
- Solicit your dental supplies sales rep to donate supplies to the clinic
- Get your friends and family to sponsor your volunteering
- Spread the word – tell our story
- Come again next year!
22. I’m arriving early. Is there a hotel you recommend?
Yes! In fact, there are a few hotels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv which offer discounts to DVI dentists and their families. email firstname.lastname@example.org for our current suggestion and book far enough in advance, because the most inexpensive and nice options are usually booked far in advance.
23. Shabbat – the Jewish Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. Why are most places closed?
Shabbat (Sabbath) and all Jewish holidays begin at sun down, and end the following night when it gets dark. Banks, businesses and public institutions are closed at these times. In major cities, many restaurants, movie theaters, nightclubs and shopping malls remain open. Please note that in Jerusalem, certain neighborhoods have restaurants and movie theaters open but shops are closed, except for eastern Jerusalem. On the holiday of Yom Kippur in the Fall, taxi service is available – all other public transportation is not. The eve of Yom Kippur is traffic-free in most areas of the country, leaving the roads open for kids on bicycles and skates and pedestrians. In the BINDER in your apartment you will find a list of 24 hour grocery stores (for example 19 Shammai St), restaurants and museums (such as the Israel Museum, the Tower of David Museum, and the Biblical Zoo) OPEN on Shabbat, as well as walking tours! Also, some dentists take advantage of the day of rest to tour Israel – Egged Tours offers day tours from Jerusalem across the country.For more information about the Jewish day of rest: Wikipedia
24. Hospitality – can I have the experience of joining a Jewish family for a traditional Shabbat meal and possibly other holiday meals?
Hospitality: DVI’s volunteer coordinator will arrange a Shabbat meal host family for you and your guests, if you give her a few weeks’ notice that you will be arriving in time to arrive at their home on time and the number of people who are staying with you. Alternately, Kehillat Yedidya and Shira Hadasha Synagogues offer hospitality to visitors for Sabbath Meals.