It’s finally the day. The staff prepared, the dental equipment in place, and the patient rooms ready.
It’s been two years of planning, legal process, vision casting, and fundraising for the opening of the brand new HaTikva Dental Clinic located in the center of the busiest street in Jerusalem.
Evan Levine, Executive Director of HaTikva Project, arrived at the clinic on opening day anticipating the launch a project he felt the Lord call him to—influenced by a common need requested through related charity work he’s involved with his non-profit.
The innovative clinic opened November 1, 2015.
“I can’t put it into words how fantastic it felt to see through to the finish a vision that the Lord had planted,” says Evan.
From its inception, the dental facility’s mission has been vastly different from any dental care provided in Israel for several reasons. It’s owned by messianic believers, and the model is to provide the highest quality care, and by doing so, subsidize care for the needy.
Israel has a socialized medicine system, which does not include dental care after the age of 12, so the only available options are expensive, substandard government dental care, or astronomically priced privatized care.
It can cost as much as up to half of a person’s yearly salary to have their dental needs treated depending on the complexity.
“You can go to any private clinic you want and pay a similar price, and the price will be profit for the dentist that owns it, but at our clinic you’ll pay the same price and get the same quality of care or better, but instead of us profiting from it…we are putting the profits back into subsidizing the needy’s treatment who are going to be in the chair after you leave it,” says Evan.
At government and privatized dental care facilities, dentists receive payment based on percentage, but at HaTikva, employees get hourly compensation to eliminate the incentive to rush patients out the door. This ensures that patients receive a higher standard of care.
The overshadowing motivation to open the clinic is the ability for the messianic body to declare their presence in the community, who they are, and what they stand for.
“We are doing this because Yeshua said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength and soul, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself, so this is an offshoot of our faith,” Evan shares referring to the big picture for the clinic.
“We can take on spheres of public influence and succeed, and do it for the glory of Yeshua.”
Despite the sensitivity, Evan has been forthright about his messianic beliefs to all who helped set up the HaTikva Clinic, including government agencies, and God provided favor the whole way.
His wife, Elisa, is a hygienist at the clinic, and plays a major role in the vision for the business and overseeing the standard of care. Previous to the opening, she worked as a licensed dental hygienist in Israel and the U.S.
“I wouldn’t have done this if it weren’t for my wife,” says Evan.
Israel was the destination all along. Evan and Elisa, both Jewish believers and U.S. born, made Aliyah and moved to Israel in 2009 with the same heart and vision—to be a part of the messianic community in Israel, and with plans to establish a ministry.
They established HaTikva Project, an Israeli charity, in 2013, and they work in partnership with an American organization for fundraising, Promise Keepers. The HaTikva Dental Clinic is an initiative of HaTikva Project.
The main focuses of the ministry are to meet the needs of the poor, oppressed and needy Jewish believers in Israel, and to bring forth the gospel to the Jewish people who aren’t yet saved.
“We really felt the proper way for Christians who love Israel to give wasn’t to secular organizations or to religious Jewish organizations, but rather to give to the messianic communities in Israel, and specifically, to meet the needs of the poor among the believers,” says Evan.
HaTikva Project has met the needs of the messianic body who are in financial crisis, single parents, widows and orphans, holocaust survivors and many other circumstances.
Evan sees the dental clinic being in competition for the business of local Israeli believers and non-believers that would choose to go to a private clinic.
“I really want believers to be known all throughout Israel as, ‘oh you need dental care? Go to the messianic believers. They give the best dental care that there is in Israel.’”
If HaTikva Clinic is successful the way Evan believes it will be, the next goal would be to replicate the model in a city in the north and south.
“It’s an opportunity for the door to be open to evangelism,” Evan says. “We’re equipped and we’re ready for whatever the Lord would do.”
To learn more about HaTikva Dental Clinic, visit www.hatikvadental.co.il.