Promoted Content

Start Practicing Medicine Right Off the Aliyah Flight? With Nefesh B’Nefesh’s MedEx, It’s No Dream

Medical professionals thinking about making aliyah? There’s still time to register for A Taste of MedEx (March 19 & 20, 2023 in Teaneck, NJ) – register now

Over 50 sessions and workshops on all aspects of life in Israel were held at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Mega Event on February 26 in New York. (Shahar Azran)
Over 50 sessions and workshops on all aspects of life in Israel were held at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Mega Event on February 26 in New York. (Shahar Azran)

Healing. Caring. Relieving pain. Improving – or saving – lives. That’s why doctors, nurses, therapists and other health care workers made the career choice they did.

But if you’re a medical professional with the dream of making Aliyah, transferring your career also involves the potentially challenging bureaucracy of having your license recognized in Israel. Add to that figuring out and applying for job positions in Israel’s healthcare system. All this, of course, while trying to acclimate yourself (and possibly your entire family) to a new language and culture.

It’s enough to make a dedicated physician take two aspirin and call Nefesh B’Nefesh in the morning.

Expediting the Medical Aliyah Process

Nefesh B’Nefesh, which works in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA, aims to be a panacea for both North American medical professionals who aspire to make Aliyah, as well as an Israeli healthcare system struggling with an increasingly felt shortage of medical personnel. Since its inception, Nefesh B’Nefesh together with JNF-USA has assisted more than 840 physicians and 2,900 medical professionals with their Aliyah process. Most are now employed in hospitals, Israel’s health funds (HMOs) and the private sector.

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s annual MedEx event (this year’s coming up on March 19 & 20, 2023 in New Jersey) is designed to streamline the Aliyah process for licensed medical professionals. MedEx participants have the opportunity to make major progress in transferring over their licenses and searching for positions – so the lag between landing in Israel and working in health care is minimal or non-existent.

Foresee the need to transfer a license? MedEx hosts licensing representatives from Israel’s Ministry of Health who can review individual cases and open files to start the process of license transfer. An Israeli notary will be on-site to authenticate documents. Members of the Israeli Medical Association will be present to offer valuable information about medical specialty recognition.

Photo Credit: Shahar Azran

Dream of having a job waiting when you get off that airplane? Recruiters from major Israeli medical organizations will be networking and interviewing qualified candidates at MedEx. All four Israeli HMOs will have representatives at MedEx, as well as Assia Medical, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Directorate of Government Medical Centers, Galilee Medical Center, Hadassah Medical Center, Herzog Hospital, Merchavim Mental Health Center, Rambam Health Care Campus, Ministry of the Negev, Galilee and National Resilience, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) and Tzafon Medical Center (Poriya) and representatives from JNF-USA.

Short-Term Help and Long-Term Guidance

This year’s MedEx features two tracks: the main MedEx program and the “Taste of MedEx” program.

Photo Credit: Shahar Azran

The main MedEx track is for qualified medical professionals in advanced stages of Aliyah planning. This is the one-stop-shop for license transfer facilitation, networking and job searching, available to physicians, nurses, dentists, physician assistants, podiatrists, psychologists, ophthalmologists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, audiologists, dietitians/nutritionists, dental hygienists and medical laboratory professionals.

The “Taste of MedEx” track is geared toward medical professionals and students who are starting to explore the possibility of making Aliyah and want more information. MedEx offers this audience the opportunity to meet with Olim who are already working in Israel to hear about their experiences and receive guidance about building a plan to eventually work in the Israeli healthcare system. Sessions and workshops cover topics including opportunities for current and future physicians, nurses, allied health care professionals and natural disaster emergency medical response teams.

Over a decade ago, the Israeli Medical Association published an opinion paper about the looming physician shortage in Israel. Causes include a lack of spots in Israeli medical school programs that forces potential medical students to get schooling overseas (and not infrequently stay there to live) and the impending retirement of a large segment of Israel’s medical personnel. Exacerbating the issue is an aging population that needs a growing amount of medical care.

As is wont to happen with looming – but not yet felt – issues, little was done to address the physician shortage. But the hour of truth is arriving. Both Israeli governmental organization and NGOs are grasping for solutions, including restructuring medical internships and closing medical programs catering to overseas students in order to open up more places for Israeli students.

Another solution that addresses the shortage directly, without the gestation period required to transform a first-year medical student into a practicing doctor, is importing qualified medical professionals. Initiatives include reaching out to Eastern European medical graduates (like the Physicians Program at the Rambam Health Care Campus) and, of course, North Americans.

“Our MedEx track has proven to be an indispensable part of the medical Aliyah process, and it is exciting for us to once again host this in-person event in NJ, especially as we continue to see an increase in Aliyah interest from medical professionals from across North America, said Tony Gelbart, Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Nefesh B’Nefesh is constantly striving to create accessible ways for potential Olim to explore their options and take additional steps toward fulfilling their Aliyah dreams. Through Medex we are excited to assist all medical professionals in making substantial inroads in processing their future Israeli medical licenses while minimizing their bureaucracy by enabling real time interviews and job placements in advance of their Aliyah.”

Immigrant Influence – and Importance

In the early 1960s, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol spoke at a London dinner for the United Jewish Israel Appeal, emphasizing how each immigrant in Israel was an indispensable asset to the future growth of Israel’s economy.

Six decades later the same principle holds true. Each Oleh – especially those with skills that Israel sorely needs – makes a valuable contribution to Israel’s economy and society.

Photo Credit: Shahar Azran

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s MedEx is there to smooth the process for North American medical professionals and would-be Olim. Over 300 medical professionals are anticipated to attend MedEx next week. Here’s hoping that many of them successfully start their journey home.

Medical professionals thinking about making Aliyah? There’s still time to register for A Taste of MedEx (March 19 & 20, 2023 in Teaneck, NJ) – but act quickly!

Register for A Taste of MedEx here.

read more: