Drs. Stuart Fischman, Vice Chair of JHI's Board of Directors and Sheldon Sydney, JHI's Country Director for Riga, represented JHI in a "mini-mission" to Riga in late October. An Anniversary Celebration launched the mission, giving the JHI team the opportunity to recognize the support of our Riga colleagues and our mission coordinator Jennifer Rastopchina. The main objective was to plan future cooperative efforts at Bikur Holim Hospital and in the wider Jewish community of Riga.
Drs. Fischman and Sydney have led the efforts to build a "Dental Center of Excellence" at Bikur Holim Hospital over the last five years. They reviewed accomplishments to date and developed initial plans for future activities in the oral health clinic. Dr. Shatz arranged for the team to meet with the directors of Bikur Holim's medical services. Two important conclusions were drawn from the lengthy meeting; it was obvious that Dr. Shatz enjoys the confidence of the medical staff leaders and each director expressed appreciation for JHI's activities at Bikur Holim Hospital and a desire to continue a strong relationship. The team recommended that the JHI Board of Directors continue the successful programs in Riga, continuing its collaboration with Bikur Holim in all areas of medical and dental health care.
A second objective was to meet with representatives of the WIZO-Rahamim Social Care Center in Riga (Hesed) and the broader Jewish Community, to discuss the impact of JHI programming and to develop a plan for the future. The team met with Hana Finkelsten, Director of the WIZO-Rahamim Social Care Center in Riga (Hesed). Ms. Finkelsten had prepared a brief letter suggesting future cooperation and assistance in several areas and her proposal was the basis for beginning the discussion. Approximately 1,500 clients rely on WIZO-Rahamim for services.