Israeli doctors tour Jacksonville as part of Partnership and Society of Healers exchange


By Jacksonville Jewish News


In late August, two Israeli doctors came to Florida’s First Coast as part of Federation’s Israel Partnership PROGRAM to educate, inform and inspire both medical communities, here in the U.S. and Israel. Through the Federation’s Society of Healers division, Drs. Adi Klein and Yael Kopelman from the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Jacksonville’s partnership city of Hadera, spent a week in the Jewish community and with Jewish healthcare providers, getting a better glimpse of the medicine in Florida’s biggest city. Klein is the Director of the Hospital’s pediatric unit, while Kopelman is the Director of the Medical Center’s Gastroenterology Institute.

Their visits here in Jacksonville included stops at Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s, UF Health, WeCare and the Ackerman Cancer Center, as they had a busy five days meeting the brightest minds and friendliest faces in our medical community. The Jacksonville Jewish News sat down with both doctors following an evening presentation and event with Jewish healthcare providers here in town.


Jacksonville Jewish News: What are some of the main differences that you observed between American healthcare and Israeli healthcare?

Adi Klein: “The Israeli medical system is socialist by its nature as it is given to everybody equally, but it also lacks resources. The American healthcare system is wealthy, but there are also some subpopulations that cannot afford it.”

Yael Kopelman: “We found that the middle class medical providers like physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners are the main source of patient's care, but in Israel there are no such middle class providers

We wondered what the reason for the evolution of this profession was and if it was the patients' needs or economical demands that made it so.” 


JJN:  What was something that took you by surprise or you weren't expecting about your visit here?

AK: “It was amazing to see the telemedicine in the ICU at St. Vincent’s and the ability to treat high risk patients with only nurse practitioners in house and physicians from far away giving support with very high grades of success in their outcomes. We also found the reform Jewish services at The Temple on Friday evening to be very inspiring.”

YK: “The Ackerman Cancer Center’s treatment for cancer patients was amazing as was its Proton treatment because in Israel that technology hasn’t come yet. Patient care here in the U.S., is well known but we found that medical treatment and compassion is also a top priority.”


JJN: How are values in Jewish healthcare professionals consistent across borders and cultures?
AK: “We found the ‘We Care’ organization in Jacksonville is consistent with Jewish values in taking care of those who are in need because those who are helpless and facing unfortunate circumstances are treated by those who care.”


What will you tell your Israeli colleagues about your American experience when you return?

AK: “I found this week in Jacksonville enriching both professionally and personally as I was hosted by a wonderful family who let me experience the Jewish American life. Additionally, I learned a lot about pediatric care in different departments at Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s and UF, so I'll tell my Israeli friends that there is so much to learn when you travel here.”  

YK: “I wish there was a way to get Jewish American and Israeli physicians together more often, since there is so much to share and to learn from each other.”


Aside from their visits to numerous local healthcare and medical outfits, the pair made a special presentation to the Society of Healers at the opening event for the division at Noura Café in Lakewood. Thanks to event sponsors Sheryl and Ken Sekine along with doctoral hosts Arlene and Tony Adelson and Wendy and Jeff Sapolsky.