Board of Directors
Dr. D. Walter Cohen z”ll- Honorary Chairman
Dr. D. Walter Cohen was a native of Philadelphia. He attended the University of Pennsylvania undergraduate school and earned his D.D.S. from their school of Dental Medicine. He established the school’s department of Periodontics and served as it’s first chairman. Not long after, he was given the title of Dean. During his tenure as Dean he was responsible for introducing new courses, recruiting new faculty, and establishing a residency program for dental students. Dr. Cohen wrote 22 books and published more than 130 articles. He became the President of the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1986 and opened a new educational campus. Dr. Cohen’s many accomplishments included a Gold Medal from the American Academy of Periodontology, an honorary membership in the British Society of Periodontology, and Legion of Merit Award from the French government. Dr. Cohen served as the Honorary Chairman of American Friends of DVI until his passing in June 2018.
Allen R. Helfer, BA, DDS, MScD – Chairman
Dr. Allen Helfer has been the Chairman of American Friends of DVI for nearly a decade. He is a graduate of the Columbia University Dental School and Boston University, School of Graduate Dentistry. Dr. Helfer has taught as a Clinical Professor of Endodontics at Columbia Dental School and acted as the Endodontic Director of AEGD and GPR Residency Program at Columbia Dental School. He continues to teach at both Columbia University School of Dentistry in New York and Nova University Dental School in Florida. He is a member of many influential organizations including the William Jarvie Honor Society, Connecticut Dental Society, Diplomat of American Board of Endodontics among many others. Dr. Helfer has traveled the world giving lectures and seminars on general dentistry and endodontics. He has been involved with DVI and Trudi Birger for many years and has contributed much of his time, energy, and gracious leadership to ensuring that the DVI clinic in Jerusalem runs successfully.
Scott Dubowsky, DMD – President
Dr. Scott Dubowsky is a 1975 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine. He received a teaching fellowship in periodontics from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his hospital residency training at Metropolitan Hospital Center in New York City in 1976. Dr. Dubowsky has received fellowships from the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD) and The Pierre Fauchard Academy. He has held national positions in both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry at the council and taskforce level and has been Chairman of the AGD’s Council on Dental Care. He is a past president of the New Jersey Academy of General Dentistry and has also served as a reviewer for the US Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in America. Dr. Dubowsky was a clinical assistant professor at the NYU College of Dentistry for over 25 years, is currently an attending dentist at Bayonne Medical Center, and is an evaluator for “Clinician’s Report,” an independent dental research and evaluation organization. Dr. Dubowsky has received a commendation from the New York City Medical Examiner’s office for his work as a member of the dental ID team following the World Trade Center tragedy.
David Weinstein, DMD – Vice President
Dr. David Weinstein is a periodontist who specializes in the placement of dental implants with offices in Manhattan and New Jersey. He received his doctorate in Dental Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a general practice residency at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Dr. Weinstein is a former Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Implant Dentistry at Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery where he instructed students on dental implantology. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology and the Northeast Society of Periodontists. Dr. Weinstein first volunteered at the Trudi Birger clinic in 1992. Since then, he has returned to the clinic over ten times. Dr. Weinstein has served as the Chairman of the New York annual fundraising events.
Mr. Keith D. Drayer – Vice President
Mr. Keith D. Drayer is Vice President and General Manager of Henry Schein Financial Services. He is responsible for Henry Schein Financial Services (“HSFS”), Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions “HS PPT”) and Henry Schein Associate Dentist Placements. Keith leads and manages a team of more than 90 members spanning fourteen countries.
HSFS provides business solutions for healthcare providers including practice start-up financing, expansion to practice acquisition services. HSFS provides customers with access to capital to fulfill their professional goals. HSFS also offers customers a comprehensive suite of services that help improve profitability.
Keith also manages HS PPT, a nationwide, full service dental and veterinary practice brokerage firm engaging in appraisals, consulting and practice sales. HS PPT has become the leading dental brokerage in the U.S.
Keith is an active contributor to many facets of the dental industry. He is Treasurer of the Dr. Edward Shils Entrepreneurial Education Fund and a Vice President of American Friends of Dental Volunteers for Israel. Keith has been a participant of the Alpha Omega Corporate Roundtable, Dental Trade Alliance and has worked with the National Dental Association and Hispanic Dental Association on matters of healthcare industry diversity.
Keith has been interviewed by CBS Small Business Report, Eye on the Markets, Crain’s NY Business and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. He has lectured nationwide to dental and medical school students and Residents. Keith has taught at New York University’s Dental School Continuing Education program, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, written articles for Dental Equipment and Materials, Dental Economics, Journal of Women Dentists, Dental Entrepreneur, Tooth Magazine as well as several medical and animal health journals.
Keith is married to a professional volunteer and has two children. He is an active marathon runner and triathlete.
Don Simkin, DDS – Treasurer
Dr. Don Simkin is a graduate of NYU College of Dentistry. After managing his own private practice in Livingston Manor for over three decades, he is recently retired from forty years of active practice after associating with Great Expressions Dental Centers in Liberty, New York. He is a lifetime member of the American Dental Association as well as a member of both the Academy of General Dentistry and the International Academy of Dento-Facial Esthetics. Dr. Simkin had served as the director of Dentistry at Catskill Regional Medical Center for over a decade and also assists as a Dental Consultant for the United States Luge Association. His many community endeavors include Board Member and three times past-President of the Livingston Manor Rotary Club, past President of the Sullivan County Health Advisory Council, founding member and past-President of the Livingston Manor Community Center. Recently, Dr. Simkin was named to the Board of Trustees of the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, NY. Dr. Simkin is an avid traveler and Olympic enthusiast. He has attended all Olympic Games since 1980 and was honored as a community hero, carrying the Olympic flame in the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay. He has been an active volunteer in American Friends of DVI since 1987.
Saul Pressner, DMD – Secretary
Dr. Saul Pressner is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He completed a 2-year Family Dentistry Residency at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Pressner has been a Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU school of Dentistry, Bellevue Residency.
In 2014 Dr. Pressner was the President-Elect of the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry. He has authored two articles on Biomimetic Dentistry in the PAGD Journal and has lectured on the subject at the University of Pennsylvania and at Columbia University.
Deborah Weisfuse, DMD, At-Large Executive Board Member
Dr. Deborah Weisfuse graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and had two years General Practice Residency at Long Island Jewish Hospital. Prior to obtaining her dental degree she was awarded an MS in Anatomy from Downstate Medical School.
With her husband Dr. Robert Lipner, a visit to the DVI clinic in Jerusalem began a journey of contribution to both DVI and Organized Dentistry here in the United States. She also served as a Charter Board member, and then as National Secretary of AFDVI for 6 years. Deborah and Robert both ran the US office from their dental office during that time. She continues to serve AFDVI as an At-Large Board Member.
In addition, she is currently on the American Dental Association Council for Dental Accreditation Review Committee, a Trustee of the New York State Dental Foundation, and Legislative Chair at New York County Dental Society. She founded the New York State Dental Association Task Force on Technology while she was the first woman President of that organization in 2012-13. She is an honorary Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the New York Academy of Dentists, the Pierre Fouchard Academy, the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the International College of Dentists.
Robert Lipner, DMD, At-Large Executive Board Member
Dr. Robert Lipner has had a general practice in midtown Manhattan for over 30 years. He is a graduate of City College of the City University of New York cum laude and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine with Honors. He did his General Practice Residency at Beth Israel Hospital here in New York.
After volunteering at the Jerusalem Clinic with his entire family, he began significant and successful fundraising for the clinic in New York City. He became one of the Charter members of the newly formed Board in 1996. The AFDVI office was actually run from his office for the 6 years he served as AFDVI Treasurer. He continues to contribute to ADFVI as an At-Large Board Member.
Dr. Lipner has served as Prosthetics Attending at the Dental Residency Program of New York Hospital Queens. As a long-time member of the New York County Dental Society, he has served on its Public and Professional Committee and now sits on the Peer Review Committee.
His is an honorary Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the New York Academy of Dentists, the Pierre Fouchard Academy, the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the International College of Dentists.
Michael Goldberg, DMD – At-Large Executive Board Member
Dr. Michael Goldberg has been involved with DVI since first speaking with Trudi Birger over the phone and meeting her in Jerusalem during the summer of 1984, when he volunteered for 3 weeks. Since, he has been passionate about the cause. Dr. Goldberg has been an Associate Professor at Columbia University where he taught in various capacities for 30 years. He was the Director of the General Practice Residency Program at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He currently practices comprehensive dental medicine at Manhattan Dental Health in New York City. He is the Author of the book “What The Tooth Fairy Didn’t Tell You”, the proceeds of which go to AFDVI. Dr. Goldberg has been recognized by many for his contributions to the Dental Profession. He has been elected into fellowship in The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Dentists, The International Academy of Dental-Facial Esthetics and The New York Academy of Dentistry. He was elected to the OKU Honor Society and is a member of the ADA, American Academy of Oral Medicine, Alpha Omega Fraternity and a founding member of the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health. Dr. Goldberg sits on the Board of Directors of Glide Health Corporation, an e-health company offering mobile desktop digital record solutions for patients and Doctors. He is married to Laurie, has 2 married children and 4 grandchildren.
Murray S. Baruch, DDS
Dr. Murray Baruch graduated from the University of Michigan Dental School and has a private dental practice in the Detroit, Michigan area. From his first visit to the DVI clinic in 2002, he has continued to volunteer each year thereafter. After reading Trudi Birger’s book, “A Daughter’s Gift of Love”, he saw the impact that one person can have in the world and wanted to be part of that mission. He is involved in organized dentistry organizations.
In addition to his dental activities, Dr. Baruch plays African Djembe drums with a community African Drum and Dance Troupe playing throughout the Detroit area.
Leonard H. Bers, DDS
Dr. Bers is a graduate of the University of Maryland Dental School and the dental residency program at Prince George’s General Hospital. He has practiced dentistry in the Washington, DC area for over 35 years.
Over the years, he has served in a variety of positions for the Maryland State Dental Association and the Southern Maryland Dental Society. Dr. Bers is a Master in the Academy of General Dentistry, a fellow in the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and was recently appointed to the Dean’s Faculty at Maryland as a clinical instructor. He is a regular volunteer in his state’s Mission of Mercy dental care program and Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped Donated Dental Services Program.
A volunteer at the clinic yearly since 2011, he enthusiastically looks forward to a long association with DVI and the American Friends.
Rabbi Gary Charlestein
Mr. Victor Dabah
Susan Gross, DDS
It is the responsibility of each of us to do what we can to improve our community. There is an intense need to improve the access to dental care in our local community and globally. In reality, our “community” has no geographical boundaries. I have volunteered at the Dental Volunteers for Israel (DVI) clinic annually since 2004. Each time I am in Jerusalem, it is clear that people everywhere are more similar than different.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1982, I established a private practice in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. I have been at this location for the past 32 years. Also, I am currently teaching at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in the General Practice Residency program. I am honored to be affiliated with the education of the future clinicians in dentistry.
I am active in the following continuing professional development activities: Past president and board member of the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, Local and foreign dental care volunteer, American Friends of DVI Board Member, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry Alumni Society President and board member, University of Minnesota Alumni Society Collegiate Council, Adjunct Faculty at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry Admissions Committee, Chaired Peer Review and other committees of the Minnesota and Minneapolis Dental Association, Dental license examiner.
James Haas, DDS
Dr. James Haas graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School. After dental school, he completed a 3-year residency in pediatric dentistry at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Haas is board certified in pediatric dentistry, earned the title of Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, New Hampshire Dental Society, and the New Hampshire Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. He owns a private multi-specialty dental practice in the Southern New Hampshire area.
Since his first visit to the DVI clinic in 2010, he and his father-in-law, Dr. Donald Kalfus, have continued to return every year. Dr. Haas has always had the desire to be very involved with his community. He is involved with the foster care system in New Hampshire and participates in the Dentists with a Heart program, including providing screenings in local elementary schools.
Dr. Steve Katz
Kalman Klass, DDS
Dr. Klass is a graduate from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. As a member of organized dentistry, Dr. Klass is currently a member of the American Dental Association, the Washington State Dental Association and the Seattle King County Dental Society. He is past treasurer for the Washington State Dental Association and currently chairs the Peer Review and Mediation Committee for the Seattle King County Dental Society. He is also a past president for the Seattle Chapter of Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity and a fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy. Dr. Klass maintains a private general practice in Seattle, Washington. He has been a volunteer at the DVI clinic several times, starting in 1994. He also volunteers on a mobile dental clinic for low income children in Washington State and has recently started his own program to examine and refer patients for treatment in an HIV / AIDS outpatient clinic (a clinic and hospice unique in the world). “It was both Trudi and Zev who taught me what true success is. It is simply based on how many people you can help in this world.
Ira Levinsky, DDS
Mr. Marc Manger
Michelle S. Mirsky, DDS
Dr. Michelle Mirsky is a 1977 graduate of Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine. She did her undergraduate degree at SUNY Stony Brook, majoring in biology and education. Dr. Mirsky is in general practice in midtown Manhattan with her husband Dr. David Abelson, University of Michigan graduate. She is an Associate Clinical Faculty at Columbia CDM, teaching the pre-doctoral students. At Columbia she has mentored students for the last 11 years, and she is the Vice President of the Columbia CDM Alumni Association. She lectures on esthetics and is the Faculty liason for the Esthetic Study Club for CDM students. She was recognized for her teaching at Columbia when she received the first Guy Metcalf teaching Award for excellence. Dr. Mirsky has received fellowships from the American College of Dentists (ACD) and the New York Academy of Dentists (NYAD), where she is on the board. She is a member of the OKU Dental Honor Society and the AO International Dental Fraternity.
Mr. Parthiv Shah
Mr. Arthur H. Sheer, MBA
Mr. Arthur Sheer is the founder and Chief Executive officer of Sheer Asset Management Inc. and currently chairman and CEO of The Roosevelt Investment Group. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Babson College. He began his career as a Securities Analyst at First National Bank of Chicago. While there, he held various positions including bank officer and Research Group Leader. Mr. Sheer moved on to work as research and portfolio management positions at Keystone Custodian Funds and Fidelity Management. His success caught the attention of Jacob Rothschild he was personally recruited him to manage the portfolios of House of Rothschild. Mr. Sheer served as Chief Investment Officer at J. Rothschild and Rothschild affiliated for six years. Not long after he formed Sheer Asset Management, Inc.
Ken Simckes, DDS
A graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Dental School, Dr. Simckes went on to receive a certificate in Pediatric Dentistry at the Brookdale University Medical Center where he also served as the chief dental resident. Since his first trip to the Trudi Birger DVI clinic in May of 2003, Dr. Simckes has been back at least twice each year. Dr. Simckes has an active private pediatric dental practice in Monsey, NY where he lives with his wife and seven children. He also has an appointment as an attending at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY. In addition to serving on the board of American Friends of DVI, Dr. Simckes serves as president of his synagogue, The Young Israel of Monsey and Wesley Hills; vice-president of the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland; and as the co-chair of the Rockland County Young Leadership Division of Israel Bonds.
Alan Wender, DDS
Dr. Alan Wender graduated from NYU Dental School in 1955. He served for two years in the United States Army. He practiced general dentistry in Mount Holly, New Jersey for forty-seven years. In 1992, Dr. Wender read about the DVI Clinic in his Jewish Community Center newspaper and decided to volunteer that same year. He has been volunteering at the clinic since then. By 2007 Dr. Wender had volunteered at the Trudi Birger Dental Clinic for sixteen consecutive years. Dr. Wender has been quoted as saying, “Meeting Trudi Birger was one of the greatest experiences of my life. When you look into a patient’s open mouth, their ethnicity seems to have faded away.