Making the Switch from Law to Medicine in Israel

My name is Nina Baker and I was a recent participant in Career Israel, a Masa Israel-accredited internship program.  I majored in Anthropology at Bucknell University and then worked as an Intellectual Property paralegal at the firm Kirkland & Ellis in New York City for two years.

After realizing medicine is actually where my interests lie, I quit my job and enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health program at NYU where I satisfied the pre-med classes required to apply to health schools.  My decision to come to Israel was twofold: I wanted to gain hands-on experience in the world of medicine and therapy, as well as have the opportunity to shape my Jewish identity.

I interned at the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan.  I worked very closely with patients afflicted with cerebral palsy at the day center where they are provided daily activities.  In addition, I observed physical and physio therapies for the disabled athletes.  This internship allowed me to not only have hands-on patient experience, but to learn about therapies I didn’t know existed.  These experiences are invaluable when applying to health schools as well as figuring out which path in medicine I would like to follow.

The opportunity I was awarded through Career Israel allowed me to experience Israel in a way Birthright couldn’t.  Not only was I exposed to the Israeli medical world, but I also learned about religion and the state as well as other hot topics in Israel.  My favorite experience was the four-day cross-country hike, called Yam L’Yam, which I did with several other participants during Pesach break.  I hiked 80 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kinneret.  Though it was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done, I was able to see and experience so many different types of terrain Israel has to offer.  It was a great way to feel a connection with the land of Israel in a way that listening to a lecture can’t offer.

The picture above is from the day we finally made it to the Kinneret.  I am holding a small bottle of Mediterranean Sea water.

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Saving Children’s Lives in Israel

My name is Molly Piccione and I am from Babylon, NY. I studied Exercise Physiology at the University of Miami and came on the Career Israel internship program shortly thereafter to spend time living and learning abroad before I go to medical school.

I have two internships here in Tel Aviv.  The first is in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center in Tel Hashomer Hospital, and the second is at Save A Child’s Heart. Coming from an Exercise Physiology background, my original purpose at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center was to assist with patient care on the floor, but recently I have had the opportunity to get involved in research.  I just began a project of data organization from past patients in order to establish a database for future studies.

My second internship here is volunteering at Save A Child’s Heart. SACH is a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with the Wolfson Hospital to bring children, and a parent when possible, to Israel for life-saving heart surgery.  They also provide pre- and post-surgery consultations as well as living accommodations at no cost to the families during their stay in Israel.

One of my favorite things about both Tel Hashomer and SACH is the hands-on experience I’m getting with patients. As a future medical student (hopefully) it is incredible to interact directly with the type of patients to whom I will hopefully spend my career attending.   Also, being in Israel has helped me learn a lot about my identity as a Jew and how I want to incorporate that into my professional and personal future, and I am thoroughly enjoying learning more about modern-day Israel.

As such, my favorite Career Israel seminar was the Religion and State Seminar where we heard three different perspectives of the current situation of Judaism and its relation to the State of Israel.