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Manitoba Jewish dentists - members of Alpha Omega Fraternity to be honoured at Negev Gala

On May 29th, 2018 the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will be honouring the Manitoba Chapter of Alpha Omega Fraternity and one of its most distinguished members, Dr. Gerald Niznick.

Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity (AODF) is the oldest international dental organization and has the distinction of being the oldest Jewish medical organization in the world. It was created as a result of the undemocratic, anti-religious, racist and outright antisemitic sentiments prevalent in dental schools at the turn of the 20th century.  

The Manitoba chapter of AODF received its charter in December 1946, and has been active in community oral health, education, research, and charitable endeavours ever since.  The student chapter of AODF was incorporated in 1959.   In 1958, the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Manitoba was established and shortly thereafter, 15 Alpha Omegans were on staff in both clinical and research departments. The first graduating class was in 1962, and out of the 15 graduates, seven were Alpha Omegans.

The foundational guiding principles of AODF were: access to oral health and wellness; promoting social justice; and Tikkun Olam – repairing an ailing world.   

The mission statement of AO Fraternity is “to offer dentists, oral health professionals, and students a welcoming fraternal community that honours the organization’s Judaic heritage, provides opportunities to attain professional excellence and promotes access to oral health care for all.”

AO’s vision statement “envisions communities where everyone has access to oral health care and whose members can contribute to the well-being of others.” Its core values are integrity, compassion, inclusion, and generosity, which arise from sharing knowledge, skills and resources in the promotion of oral health, and the pursuit of personal and professional growth.

Over the decades, Manitoba AODF has donated tens of thousands of dollars to many local and international charities); the Canadian Museum of Human Rights; the Simkin Centre; Siloam Mission; Jewish Child and Family Service; Christmas Cheer Board; Heart and Stroke; United Way; Jewish Foundation of Manitoba; and the School of Dentistry Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

The AO Manitoba chapter was very involved in donating funds towards the building of the Hebrew University Dental School in Jerusalem. Alpha Omega International has provided funds to help build a dental clinic in Jerusalem for disadvantaged children, named the Dental Volunteers for Israel (DVI) clinic. The Manitoba chapter has donated funds for DVI and, most importantly, has provided critically needed manpower to treat these children with an AO Manitoban travelling to Israel for each of the last eight years.

Dr. Gerald Niznick is a philanthropist, innovator, and entrepreneur who is recognized by many as the godfather of modern implant dentistry. He has received 33 US patents in this field, including the internal connection patent that has become the cornerstone of modern implant design. His revolutionary ideas are limited not only to dentistry science and technology, but also to bringing implants to the masses. Among other distinctions, he has been granted Honourary Doctorate Degrees from both the University of Manitoba and Tel Aviv University in recognition of his achievements. Dr Niznick has also received Alpha Omega’s highest honour, the Achievement Medal, for his significant contributions to the dental implant field.

As a past Alpha Omegan, Dr. Niznick has followed AODF’s guiding principles and mission  in his activities, not only in his research, but by increasing the accessibility of the general public to dental plantation.  Dr.  Niznick and his wife Reesa have established the Niznick Foundation, which supports dental education from Winnipeg to Israel,  also throughout the US in the form of grants for research, undergraduate pre-clinical training and implant centers at several dental schools.

In 2006, he dedicated a radiological center at the hospital in Fort Frances, Ontario, the town in which he grew up. His other non-dental related charities include Stop Cancer, Home for the Aging, and drug rehabilitation centers. The Niznick Foundation was ranked in the top 50 Nevada Foundations by Total Giving.

In accordance with their humanitarian principles, the Manitoba Chapter of AODF and Dr. Niznick have chosen to support the construction of a new dental clinic for children with severe multiple disabilities in Israel. The treatment received at the specialized dental clinic will enable Israel’s most vulnerable members to benefit from the highest quality dental care and hygiene in an atmosphere most suitable and supportive to their needs. This project is a partnership between JNF and ALEH C.A.R.E.S., Israel’s largest Network of Care for Children with Severe Multiple Disabilities.
The Jewish National Fund Manitoba & Saskatchewan is proud to honour the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity and Dr. Gerald Niznick, who are following our Jewish tradition of social justice. You are all invited to pay tribute to these most deserving individuals  at the 2018 Negev Gala evening on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at the Centennial Concert Hall.  
The Negev Gala this year will be featuring a unique Israeli artist, who happens to share AODFs spirit and volunteers with the ALEH C.A.R.E.S. residents.  David D’or has a special voice; he is a world renowned singer, songwriter, and composer and is often asked to sing at  important and historical international occasions. Let’s welcome David D’Or with his quintet and violin soloist Alexander (Sanya) Kroitor. It will be a unique show with the best of Israeli and classical favourites.

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