A few months ago Ayala and I were invited to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to lecture at the annual meeting of the Sao Paulo State Dental Association - January 2015.
We were told that this is one of the largest dental congresses in the world, usually attended by at least 50,000 dentists with a huge dental exhibition. Our previous visits to Brazil were always exciting and enjoyable as it is indeed a beautiful country with wonderful people.
Once the excellent Alpha Omega Convention in Tel Aviv ended, we started preparing our presentations for Brazil. At the same time we were in contact with Philippe levy to plan our first Presidential visit to Alpha Omega chapters in Europe (France, Belgium and Germany). Not much later we were shocked by the news from France. At first the attack on Charlie Hebdo, followed by the violent tragic event in the Hyper Kasher store in Paris.
Our hearts and prayers were with our French fraters, and once again with all the pain and sorrow, seeing the funerals of the Jewish victims brought to be buried in Jerusalem, we could realize the significance of the old Jewish proverb from the Mishnah: If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I?
Alpha Omega’s strength is in its unity and its adherence to its noble values. When we are threatened our answer is to become stronger by recruiting more members who share our values. Thus, our trip to attend the dental congress in Sao Paulo presented a great opportunity to meet some Jewish dentists, to tell them what Alpha Omega stands for and to discuss with them the possibility of establishing a first ever Alpha Omega chapter in Brazil.
We have met with several Jewish dentists. They told us about themselves and about their lives in Brazil. Each of them revealed a most interesting life story. Daniel told us about his grandfather who was born in Petah Tikvah and left to Brazil at the age of three to search for a new life, and Samy told us that as a youngster he came to Israel to spend one year in a Kibbutz and was happy to talk with us in Hebrew. All of them have warm feelings towards Israel and were impressed to learn that Alpha Omega helped to establish both dental schools in Israel.
We were very pleased to see their enthusiasm to accept the challenge of forming an Alpha Omega chapter in Brazil, and two of them may even attend the Kabalat Shabbat that Alpha Omega is planning in Cologne, during the IDS meeting in March.
I hope that at the Washington convention we will have the pleasure of presenting the charter to a new chapter that would join the Alpha Omega family - Brazil.