Manhattan Dental July/August 2017 Edition

The Doctor’s Dentist TM

July 2017

635 Madison Ave, 19th Floor New York, NY 10022 212-928-1000 117 Kinderkamack Rd. Suite 200 River Edge, N.J. 07661 201-881-0660 www.MANHATTANDENTALHEALTHNJ.COM

I ’ve made countless trips to the Holy Land, most of them to volunteer at the DVI, Jerusalem’s free children’s clinic, to provide care to the indigent and at-risk population of this amazing city. My most recent trip this past May, however, was unique. I went with Dean Amid Ismail of Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry. We went to explore opportunities that are consistent with the mission and goals of the two organizations to which we belong, American Friends of DVI and the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders. Our goal was to strengthen, broaden, and support the Bridges to Peace initiative already underway between Israel and its West Bank neighbor, the Palestinian National Authority. We met with the deans of the three area dental schools, Hadassah, Tel Aviv, and Al-Quds. We toured the most amazing special needs program called Shalva. We attended a public health conference in Nazareth, where Dean

Ismail gave a presentation, and I met with the officials from the Israeli Ministry of Health.

important. Peace is important. That was the overriding message we heard.

Our original plan, to somehow develop a DVI-like clinic in Arab East Jerusalem, failed. The politics are just way too complicated on both sides.

This is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, perhaps the most holy site in Christendom. The space is divided inside and shared among six sects. Over the centuries, fights have erupted over control of the space. Yet, today, all is calm. Pilgrims come and pray. Accommodation has been reached, and peace has been achieved. Yes, there is hope. Dean Ismail and I will work toward building this bridge. We have to. The world has focused its attention on this land, and when peace is achieved, it can focus elsewhere. Lord knows, there are many places that can use such bridges. Perhaps the Holy Land can show the way as it did 2017 years ago. The message of “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind” must prevail. The alternative is unthinkable.

Undaunted, Dean Ismail and I are working on a plan B.

Perhaps what has given us the most hope and energized us to keep trying was the experiences we had with the types of people we met: Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Arab, and Palestinian. During this trip, we had an advantage. I spoke enough Hebrew to get by, and Dean Ismail spoke fluent Arabic. We conversed without interpreters and with full cognition. The messages were clear, and they were all the same. Everyone just wants the politicians to get off their duffs and make peace. The details are not important. Concessions here and there are not


Toward peace for all,

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