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Talia Subin: a medical trailblazer at 25

 
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Physician assistant-in-training Talia Subin, 25, wanted to do her senior rotation in Israel. That did not prove easy to arrange, since Israel does not have physician assistants, or PAs for short.

“I called a bunch of hospitals there, but no one knew what a physician assistant was,” said the Englewood resident, who is finishing a 32-month master’s program at Touro College in New York.

Little did she realize she would be a trailblazer for the profession which, since 1992 in New Jersey, will grant her a license to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician — which means that she may conduct physical examinations, obtain medical histories, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, provide counsel on preventative healthcare, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.

Subin was about to give up on the Israel idea when a friend told her about Dr. Norman Loberant, a United States-born radiologist at Western Galilee Hospital, a 700-bed facility in Nahariya. She emailed him in September and began her six-week externship on Oct. 10, thanks to the Partnership 2000 program linking the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey (JFNNJ) to Nahariya.

Loberant is a member of the medical task force for Partnership 2000 in North Jersey and also with a consortium of 16 central U.S. cities. Among several medical exchange programs he coordinates are month-long externships at his hospital for fourth-year students from various medical schools in the United States.

“Over the last four or five years we have had a number of medical students, mostly from the Central Consortium,” said Loberant. “We build a program for them according to their interests. So when I was approached by Talia, I immediately said ‘yes’ because I’m aware of physician assistants from working in the United States, where they are an integral part of the medical team. I said she’d be treated exactly as a fourth-year medical student.”

When Subin told him she was from North Jersey, Loberant suggested she contact Dr. Deane Penn, head of the JFNNJ Partnership 2000 medical task force, and Sarit Ron, a Partnership 2000 board member.

“Sarit arranged for a scholarship for me to stay at the dorm for international students at the hospital there,” said Subin, a graduate of Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School in Teaneck and Rutgers University.

Loberant took care of all the paperwork to forge an official alliance between Western Galilee and Touro, paving the way for future externships. “According to her interests, I patched together a program for her over six weeks, half in cardiology and half in emergency medicine,” he said.

Although physician assistants are not recognized in Israel, Loberant did not experience anything but enthusiasm from the hospital’s staff about Subin’s arrival. “She was welcomed as a student,” he said.

“As I tell everyone, it was amazing, and I learned so much. I felt the doctors in Israel truly wanted me to learn,” Subin said. “Everything they did, they described carefully as they were doing it.”

She had an advantage over most other externs in that she speaks Hebrew fluently, thanks to her Israeli mother, “but it’s a different Hebrew than you speak in the hospital,” she said. “I had to write up notes and learn medical terminology, so it improved my professional Hebrew. And in the emergency department, I learned to deal with Arabs, Russians, Druze — a variety of cultures.”

Throughout the six weeks, doctors and nurses at Western Galilee were eager to learn more about the PA field, and offered Subin housing and meals at their homes.

“Everyone in the north was so accommodating and helpful,” she said. “When I first arrived, a couple of people from Partnership 2000 helped me get settled and showed me the town and around the hospital, including the new ‘bunker’ emergency department.”

The bomb-proof facility, the only one of its kind in Israel, proved invaluable during the 2006 deluge of rockets from Lebanon, during which Western Galilee treated 1,872 casualties. “Anything I needed or wanted, they were always there for me. I felt it was like my home,” she said.

Subin would like to move to Israel one day, but says she is realistic about how long it could take for PAs to be officially recognized. “I think Israel can benefit from this profession, and I will try to do everything I can to facilitate this,” she said.

Loberant has informed JFNNJ that he would be happy to arrange other externships for senior PA students, and will support any initiative that the American Academy of Physician Assistants may want to launch in the Israeli medical establishment.

Penn said he is interested in coordinating more externships at Western Galilee. “They have very fine doctors there,” he said. Penn may be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for further details.

 
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A rabbi hasn’t walked into the bar ... yet

It’s not every day that a liquor license comes up for sale in Teaneck. (State licensing laws limit the number of licenses in a formula based on a town’s population.)

So when Jonathan Gellis heard that the owner of Vinny O’s in Teaneck was looking to sell the establishment, including the license, after 28 years behind the bar, he realized that only one of the more than 20 kosher restaurants in Teaneck could sell alcohol.

That seemed to be an opportunity.

Mr. Gellis is a stockbroker by day. He’s used to working in a regulated business — and the alcohol business in New Jersey is highly regulated.

Mr. Gellis grew up in Teaneck; his parents moved the family here from Brooklyn in 1975, back when the town had only one kosher restaurant. His four children attend Yeshivat Noam and the Frisch School, and he serves on the board of both institutions. He also is president of Congregation Keter Torah.

 

Where greatness lies

A memorial to Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

On July 3, 5 Tammuz, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi died. He was 89.

He inspired tens of thousands of people directly — and indirectly he inspired millions more, people who have yet to discover that the spiritual approaches they hold dear were invented and graciously shared by him.

Reb Zalman was prodigiously influential over many decades, but he was not proportionately famous. He was not always given credit for his vast learning or for his astonishing array of contributions. And he was okay with that.

The first time I saw Reb Zalman, he was on the bimah of an auditorium that held 2,000 people. His face beamed love at the congregation. I had been leading another High Holiday service, and I was able to join his congregation for the last few minutes of Rosh Hashanah morning.

 

Paying it forward

Remembering Gabby Reuveni’s generous spirit

Just a glance at the web page created in memory of Gabby Reuveni of Paramus gives some indication of the number of people she touched and — through the ongoing efforts of her family — she continues to touch.

Killed two years ago in Pennsylvania by a driver who swerved onto the shoulder of the road, where she was running, Gabby, who was 20, was “an extremely aware and kind person,” her mother, Jacqueline Reuveni, said. “We’re continuing her legacy.”

The family has undertaken both public and private “acts of kindness,” she said, from endowing scholarships to meeting local families’ medical bills.

According to her father, Michael Reuveni, Gabby — then a student at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the school’s track team — was a victim of vehicular homicide.

 

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