A record number of dentists from all around the US gathered in New Jersey on Monday to take the Israeli Dentistry Licensing Exam, in preparation for their aliyah (immigration) to Israel.
The 20 dentists were the largest number ever to take the test outside of Israel; their testing was held by the organization Nefesh B'Nefesh in an initiative to ease the transition to life in Israel. The organization has worked to increase aliyah from English-speaking countries.
After making aliyah, dentists are required to pass the Dentistry Licensing Examination which includes a theoretical and practical section.
The test in New Jersey is part of a collaboration between Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Ministry of Health to allow the theoretical section to be taken before immigrating, expediting the process and allowing dentists to enter the Israeli job market earlier.
“I think it’s an amazing thing to be able...to take the Israeli Government’s Dentistry Licensing Exam while I am still in the US,” said Debbie Goldschmiedt, one of the test takers. “This new option is saving a lot of waiting time and energy, and more importantly, it will enable me to start working as a dentist and earn a living in Israel shortly after my aliyah.”
Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, praised the Israeli government for taking the steps to allow the test to be held in North America.
“The fact that the Israeli government, and more specifically the Health Ministry, is accommodating dentists interested in making aliyah, is an extraordinary display of the state of Israel’s willingness to do all in their power to encourage aliyah,” noted Rabbi Fass. “It is an absolute game changer that Olim (immigrant) dentists will now be able to join the Israeli work force shortly after their arrival in Israel.”
Last November, Nefesh B'Nefesh hosted its "Think Israel" conference to promote aliyah. A record 160 medical professionals came to the event, which included a preparatory seminar by the Israeli Ministry of Health to expedite Israeli medical licensing. The event was held in partnership with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF.