A Bronx dentist joined his peers in helping underprivileged Israeli children regain their smiles.
American dentists, doctors Steve Katz, Ariel Levy and John Case, recently traveled to Israel to volunteer at the Trudi Birger Dental Clinic in Jerusalem through Dental Volunteers for Israel, a special program providing free dental care and oral health education to thousands of Jerusalem’s needy children annually.
Dr. Ariel Levy, a five-year St. Barnabas Hospital orthodontics resident, is an Israeli native.
At age 22, Dr. Levy and his family emigrated to the U.S. where they settled down in Riverdale.
Dr. Levy is a Brandeis University Class of 2009 graduate and a UNC School of Dentistry Class of 2013 alum.
“I go home to Israel every year to see friends and family. I dearly miss it,” he said. “In recent years, I have been able to use my dental experience back home at this wonderful clinic. DVI has advanced equipment and experienced staff that make a visit a pleasure for any doctor or patient.”
This is the second time Dr. Levy has volunteered with DVI in his home country.
He has booked his next visit with DVI for February 2018.
With a total population of 830,000, Jerusalem has over 200,000 youth living below the poverty line.
Volunteer dentists and their Israeli colleagues perform approximately 1,000 treatments each month.
Most DVI patients are referred to the free clinic through the Municipal Welfare Office, homeless shelters, at-risk youth programs, shelters for battered women and their children and other welfare organizations.
Each patient has a story and a reason for living below the poverty line.
One such patient doctors Levy, Katz and Case treated this year was Eden, a 21-year-old woman born into an abusive family who suffered sexual and physical abuse by her biological parents.
At age 13, Eden’s mother struck her so hard that she fell and knocked out her two front teeth.
She was fitted with temporary crowns two years later, but was not able to replace them due to her family situation.
Over the years, Eden’s temporary crowns deteriorated and fell out, leaving her with a gap that led to shifting teeth and an unhealthy mouth.
She will require extensive specialized dental treatment including surgery, root canal therapy, implants and crowns.
“It’s an unfortunate situation with Eden’s teeth and she needs a lot of dental work,” Dr. Levy noted.
The American Friends of DVI, a non-profit supporting DVI’s work through volunteer recruitment and fundraising efforts, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Eden regain her smile.
If interested in donating, visit www.gofun
DVI was founded by late Holocaust survivor, microbiologist and dedicated humanitarian activist Trudi Birger in 1980 when the Israeli government cut dental care from public health programs.
Having survived one of history’s darkest chapters, Birger vowed to prevent the suffering of other children through DVI which she oversaw until her death on April 24, 2002.
For more information, visit www.ameri