Volunteer Profile: Dr. Yulia Medovar

Volunteer Profile - Dr. Yulia Medovar - Image 01Yulia Medovar began volunteering at DVI in in the Fall of 2000, after the beginning of the Intifada, when foreign dentists stopped coming to Israel because of the danger. Yulia lives in Beit Nachalut, in Gush Etzion, and back at that time the drive to Jerusalem was dangerous, with rock throwing and so on, but Yulia was determined to get to DVI, where she was needed.

​Over time, Yulia connected to DVI, to the purpose and mission of Trudi Birger. She deeply cares about the kids. Yulia is a new immigrant from the Ukraine; she came with her husband to Israel in 1995, after finishing their degrees.

Her husband Dr. Alon Zhabokritsky is also a dentist, who has volunteered at Yad Sarah in the past. She was deeply inspired and moved by Trudi Birger, and all of her incredible efforts. As a result of Trudi, and of seeing generations grow up and learning self-confidence, studying, improving themselves – Yulia witnessed the amazing power of DVI to enable youth to escape the cycle of poverty. Three dental assistants (two Ethiopians Brook and Salomon and one who also works at DVI – Enya) she works with were once patients at DVI. This is way to really help people – taking kids like these three, who had nothing, who weren’t even able to dream of dental care, never mind a career, ended up with both, and all three also decided to serve in the army and give back to the country. They learned to care for themselves, and that they were worthy.

​After Trudi’s passing, Yulia decided to dedicate herself to DVI and to continue to volunteering. “When you donate money and you don’t know where it goes, it’s one thing. When you see who you’re helping, and the change it makes in them, it is so powerful. It gives both dentists and patients inspiration – we’re making a better world here at DVI.”

Yulia has been volunteering during the pandemic. Her patient Yisrael is “20.5 years – I will be 21 on Sukkot” 2020. (he is the one pictured with eyeglasses) He lives in Bayit V’Gan and studies in yeshiva. He is from an UltraOrthodox family from Kiryat Gat, and has two brothers and sisters. His siblings in Kiryat Gat are not able to receive dental treatment at all. His parents are still together and they are proud of him for studying at the Omrei Dat yeshiva; he hopes to be a rabbi one day. He likes being treated at DVI and is grateful to be able to get dental care. “Dental care is too expensive – what if there’s a need for it? People can’t afford it. It should be basic care.”

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Volunteer Profile - Dr. Yulia Medovar - Image 05Yulia’s patient Bar Rachamim was referred to DVI by Kidum L’noar (the municipal social welfare department working with youth-at-risk). Her brother was injured in the IDF and is in a wheelchair (also a DVI patient), and her family is in a tough situation. She is the 8th of 11 children and is not in contact with most of the family. Her mother doesn’t even recognize her when she stops by. Bar’s father throws her out of the house if he is home when she comes to visit, yelling at her that she needs to work. She spoke fondly of the delicious food she eats when she goes to visit her grandmother occasionally for Shabbat. Bar has been out of the house since the age of 9 and reported that her siblings are all in various dormitories (pnimiot are boarding schools for kids whose parents cannot care for them). She was living in a shelter in downtown Jerusalem when she first came to DVI. The group apartment was closed during the day so she often wanders the streets of Jerusalem during the daylight hours and begs for money. That is how she put together bus fare to get to the DVI clinic for her treatments. She has had cavities filled and root canal treatments here in addition to x-rays, oral hygiene etc.. Bar is in a difficult situation and the fact that she even managed to make it to the clinic was a major accomplishment. After not seeing Bar for more than a year, she came in for treatment during the pandemic, but…she now has a tooth that requires extraction and she is worried about her appearance with a missing tooth. “I haven’t been here for follow-up treatment or a check-up, or to the hygienist in some time, partly because I moved to Eilat last year to be near my boyfriend. Now, with the Coronavirus, I’m out of work, but I’m looking for a job.” The staff at DVI continues not only to treat her dental problems but to encourage her as well.