Dr. H made Aliyah from Teaneck, New Jersey in November 2019. He had had his Bar Mitzvah in Israel many years earlier and had since dreamed of moving to Israel. He now lives in Ramot Bet, with his wife Aviva and five children. Dr. H had previously volunteered on the US navy ship the USS Mercy with Irvin Silverstein, recipient of Alpha Omega’s Trudi Birger Award – and he knew that DVI would be part of his life in Jerusalem. Because he had already volunteered in January, Dr. Petel knew Dr. H was a good dentist who genuinely cares, so he called him to ask him to fill in during the pandemic, for foreign dentists who couldn’t get to Israel, and Harry came through, “I heard that dentists from abroad who were scheduled couldn’t get here, I considered the fact that I’m older and at risk. But when they told me that DVI would have to close down without volunteer dentists, I decided to trust to HaShem and collect my mitzvoth. The DVI staff know that I’m available to them, they know how I feel. It’s such a worthy cause – it makes you feel good. People don’t like dentists – but I have a philosophy of no pain – that’s what I give to the kids. It feels good working at DVI. Gaining the confidence of these kids – they come to love you. You need a lot of patience, but it’s worth it.”
One of Dr. H’s patients came in suffering from pain, and whose family has a long history with DVI. Mrs. Haimoff, who was the office manager for a legal office that represents battered women, suddenly took ill with fibromyalgia. This high energy mother of 6 was suddenly unable to function, was in extreme pain and totally bedridden. Doctors were eventually able to find the right cocktail of medications to get her out of bed, however she now lives with chronic intense pain that doesn’t allow her to do more than the bare minimum. Just accompanying her children to dental appointments is a stretch and challenge, however with her positive attitude and personal determination, one would never know. Mrs. Haimoff noted how special DVI is. She noted DVI’s warmth and genuine concern for their patients in conjunction with the high level of dental care her children receive here. Another important point she made note of was how quickly she can make an appointment and how she can always bring her children in for urgent care whenever they are in pain. The Haimoff children have had the gamut of treatments at DVI, from general check-ups, x-rays and oral hygiene treatments to having cavities filled, root canals and extractions performed.
Because Dr. H is fairly fluent in Yiddish, he is able to connect with some of these patients. “Volunteering at DVI is different, because I’m volunteering with my own people, helping my own flesh and blood. It’s very rewarding helping people around the world, but I have a spiritual connection with my own people. Suffering is not good for anybody. Try to figure out a solution. How I can help solve the problem of suffering in Jerusalem is with my dentistry, at DVI.”