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2018-05-04 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


May 4, 2018  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Tampa Jewish Federation helps support immigrant doctors at center in Israeli sister city

Anatoli Budylev, 29, went through the training program for immigrant doctors at the absorption center in Ashdod. 
Photo by Nir Kafri for the Jewish Agency for Israel Anatoli Budylev, 29, went through the training program for immigrant doctors at the absorption center in Ashdod. Photo by Nir Kafri for the Jewish Agency for Israel In Tampa’s sister city of Ashdod, the Absorption Center assists immigrant health professionals. It is supported by the Tampa Jewish Federation and its donors through an annual allocation. Absorption centers, located throughout Israel and funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), are temporary living quarters that provide new immigrants intensive Hebrew classes and a support network.

“It is our duty as Jews to welcome the stranger and the Tampa Jewish Federation is proud to support an initiative that helps new immigrants acclimate to Israeli society. Our annual allocation to JAFI is not only an investment in the future of Israel and to the field of medicine, it is changing the lives of thousands of Israeli immigrants every day,” said Alissa Fischel, Chief Development Officer of the Tampa JCCs and Federation.

Moving your life and career to a new country, all while learning a new language, is challenging enough. Add the rigorous field of medicine as well as medical terminology to the mix, and the task is that much more daunting. But Anatoli Budylev, 29, a Russian immigrant to Israel, speaks about his work with shining eyes and in excellent Hebrew.

Anatoli, who immigrated to Israel in 2012, works in the internal medicine department at Carmel Hospital in Haifa. He arrived from Russia knowing “only knew a few words of Hebrew, almost nothing,” yet thanks to various components of the Jewish Agency’s immigrant absorption assistance, he is now taking his first steps as a doctor in Israel. Both Anatoli and his wife, Sofia, went through the training program for immigrant doctors at the absorption center in Ashdod.

The absorption center here and elsewhere in Israel offer furnished rooms or apartments for rent at substantially lower rates than on the private market and provide new immigrants with a warm atmosphere as they become acquainted with Israeli society. Further, ulpanim (intensive Hebrew classes) are available at most absorption centers and are staffed by professional teams who have long-term experience in assisting immigrants.

“Like my wife, I already worked as a doctor in St. Petersburg (Russia),” Anatoli says. “She worked in Novosibirsk, and when I got to Israel I was referred to the absorption center in Ashdod. I went through the track in 2012, with a Hebrew ulpan. When I arrived I could only say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in Hebrew. How is my Hebrew now?,” he asked, speaking in excellent Hebrew.

Anatoli’s doctor’s training course included learning medical terminology in Hebrew.

“In practice, we learned the language and also medicine at the same time,” he says. “That was the hardest thing – sitting down and studying Hebrew, and also studying for the exam. A high percentage of people from the project I was on tried to do that, and only three passed.”

Anatoli proceeded to an internship at the Beilinson-Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, which lasted one year. “The greatest thing is that, when someone comes to Israel and they are not familiar with the health system, the internship helps them see what, for example, an internal medicine department is, what a surgical department is, because it is different from the FSU and other places,” he says.

Anatoli subsequently joined the Israel Defense Force in accordance with an agreement between Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, in which immigrant men who complete a medical internship serve in the army as doctors for 18 months.

“You go through about a month of basic training and then three months of training as a regular medical officer, when they try to give you some idea of what the army is like and what you are going to do, in contrast with your civilian role,” says Anatoli. “After three months you are sent to a clinic or a regiment. Towards the end of the period, around half a year before my release, I started thinking about my place of work and I looked into invasive cardiology.”

Anatoli and Sofia are well on their way to successful medical careers in Israel, and they are continually grateful for the doctor’s training course at the Ashdod absorption center, where it all started.

“What, exactly, do the doctors gain from this program? It helps them learn in a safe environment. You can concentrate on your studies, including ulpan and learning medical terminology, and it is free,” Anatoli says. “If we had to pay for this education, it is doubtful that we would have been able to afford it, or that we could become doctors in Israel.”

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