Contact Canadian Friends of DVI

How YOU can Help:

Donate Now

Help raise much needed funds to provide the dental tools and supplies, as well as to keep the equipment for the clinic up to date.

Volunteer

If you are a dentist and would like to donate your time and skills to help these children, click HERE learn more.

 

 

 

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Dental Volunteers for Israel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How YOU can Help:

Donate Now

Help raise much needed funds to provide the dental tools and supplies, as well as to keep the equipment for the clinic up to date.

Volunteer

If you are a dentist and would like to donate your time and skills to help these children, click HERE learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Back to Top]

 

Trudi Birger

"Trudi had an incredibly strong magnetic quality to her. She entered your soul with her amibitious goals and somehow, before you realized it- they were your own!"
- Dr. Deborah Weisfuse

"Trudi was the most dedicated, hard-working person I have ever met. She cared for every child as if that child were her own."
- Dr. Fred Margolis

About Trudi Birger

Trudi BirgerTrudi Birger was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1927. After fleeing first to Memel in the Baltic Sea and then to Lithuania in 1938 Trudi and her family lived under Soviet rule in Kovno from 1939 to 1941. Then the Nazis invaded and confined them in the Kovno ghetto, where they lived from 1941 to 1944.

Trudi writes that her childhood ended when the Nazi regime enclosed them behind its wire fence. A few years later, she and her mother were sent off to the camps, suffering forced labor and the ever-present threat of death.

Miraculously, Trudi was saved from death not once but dozens of times- by her will to live, her quick wit, her self-confidence, and especially her love for her mother. It was this sense of devotion that in the end kept them both alive to see liberation from the camps and the return to life again. Trudi's story is one of courage, faith, ingenuity, determined hope, and a series of miracles. Her experience in the ghetto and camps as a child left an indelible mark on her. Trudi described her frightful childhood in her memoir A Daughter's Gift of Love. Her co-author Jeffrey Green found her story to be compelling and described some of his meetings with her as being "harrowing, leaving both of us exhausted, our eyes full of tears." In the Afterword of her memoir Jeffrey Green captured her essence and determination when writing, "Trudi's personality is powerful, and it is impossible to refuse her... she is also an accomplished diplomat."

After miraculously surviving the dangerous conditions in the Nazis concentration camps, Trudi vowed to make her life as meaningful as possible. Trudi was driven by a sense of purpose, the desire to be useful to others. She donated vast amounts of time and energy to her volunteer work to help the poor, which included "adopting" fifty poor families in a Jerusalem neighborhood named Romema.

Realizing that children from poor families in Israel would never have the privilege to see the inside of a dental clinic, Trudi decided she would somehow find a way to provide them with state of the art dentistry, free of charge. Without any resources, except for her powerful and influential personality and assistance from her personal friends, she set out to fulfill her goal. In 1980 she founded the Dental Volunteers for Israel organization (D.V.I.), to provide comprehensive dental care and oral health education to impoverished children.

Her efforts over the next twenty-two years made it possible for thousands of underprivileged children to receive much needed dental care. In September 2003, the clinic was renamed the Trudi Birger Dental Clinic in her memory.

"God, I called, if I survive I will do whatever I can to make sure that no children will suffer the way that I have."
- Trudi Birger

In an excerpt from her memoir, Trudi describes her ambition and motivation for creating Dental Volunteers for Israel, the project that she dedicated the majority of the last twenty-two years of her life.

From Trudi Herself...

Clinic Plaque"In my work with the poor families of Jerusalem, I soon saw that dental care was entirely beyond their means, and that they had all the wrong habits: they gave their children too many sweets in compensation for the hard life they lived, and they didn't teach their children to brush their teeth at all, let alone after every meal. Neither the Ministry of Health nor the country's health insurance programs had funds to provide dental care, so the children's teeth were simply rotting in their heads. The only hope was volunteer dentists. But who? And how? I knew that Israeli dentists, who spend at least a month in the army every year, would be unable to volunteer, but why not recruit volunteer dentists from abroad?

I started talking to people about my idea, and within a month or two I had enlisted six volunteer dentists from France. They agreed to come and work in Jerusalem during the summer of 1979. But where? My next problem was to find a place to house the clinic and to obtain and install the equipment. To make a long and intense story brief, I took a quick trip back to Israel in late 1978 to establish a nonprofit corporation to run my dental clinic. I also arranged to rent and renovate an old house. Upon returning to France, I persuaded a French dental supplier to donate twenty tons of the best equipment. Then I talked to Zim, the Israeli shipping company, into transporting it for free. I cleared the equipment through customs with a personal guarantee that I had no way of backing at the time, and by the summer the clinic was in operation.

Since then, we have constantly expanded the pool of volunteer dentists, and today nine hundred dentists from nine different countries all pay their own way to Israel and work in our clinic for two-week shifts, some as often as every year, some even more often. Our patients are referred by the welfare office, and, of course, we treat both Jewish and Arab children. We require them to attend classes in dental hygiene as a condition for receiving treatment. Thousands of children have passed through our clinic by now."