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Our New Olim Physicians

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Dr. Shoshana Gros

My name is Dr. Shoshana Gros, I am a pediatrician and a lactation consultant for Leumit, and I work in the Ze'elim medical center in Beit Shemesh. 
I was born and raised in New York. I came to Israel to study medicine in the American program at Tel Aviv University, after which I went back to the States to complete my residency. I moved to Georgia, and there I practiced medicine until I got bitten by the "Aliya bug". 
I always knew that I wanted my children to grow up amongst Jews, and while in Georgia my husband and I realized that the only way to do this was by living in Israel. We made aliya 8 years ago, when my eldest was 5 years old. 
For us, moving to Israel was the best decision we could have made. We feel that we are integrated in our community, the kids are growing up "the Israeli way", with lots of freedom, running around outdoors, playing with friends from the neighborhood. We now have 8 beautiful children, who go to Israeli schools, have Israeli friends and are an integral part of Israeli society. They are growing up in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, living amongst their peers and enjoying their childhood to the greatest extent. 
For me, the hardest part about the move was the language. I needed to acclimate culturally and I did not know a word of Hebrew. I went to an intense 6-month long Ulpan, and finished it being able to read, write and hold an in-depth conversation in Hebrew. The other thing I found hard was the distance from my family. My father was sad when we left, my mother excited for me, and excited that she'd have a fun, new place to visit. Her enthusiasm helped me a lot, and I found her frequent visits, until her death, to be comforting. 
 I prefer the Israeli medical system. I take comfort in knowing that all the services offered are affordable, that people aren't expected to pay 20-30-50$ as a co-pay for a doctor's visit, and much more than that for tests and medications. The doctors here care, they do their best to help each patient and the medication and services offered (for the most part) are a part of "Sal HaBriut" (an extensive basket of subsidized medical services and medication, paid for by the Ministry of Health). 
I find it a rewarding way to practice medicine, not worrying about financial gain and benefits, but rather medicine in its purest form – for healing purposes. Working for Leumit has been a huge advantage. We consider ourselves a family. We love each other, are concerned about one and other, we celebrate our simchas together and grieve for each other. I have never worked in such a close knitted, tight, happy environment before, and it makes coming to work a daily pleasure. 
My advice for people who are considering making aliya, and for doctors who want to come live in Israel, is to make sure that they are financially settled before coming here. You must know in advance where you are going to work and how you are going to make a living in Israel. 
You must realize that there are cultural differences. The Israelis truly are sabras, hard on the outside, but mushy in their core. Initially it isn’t easy understanding the mentality, or why they do things the way they do, but with time, you just start to "get it", to understand and accept the make-up of the people here. 
Remember that your kids will be affected by the words and thoughts you portray in front of them. There will be things, maybe many things, that bother you, annoy and upset you. Try and hide these from the kids, let them think that everything is happy and easy. The more positive you are in front of them, the more positive and accepting they will be. 
And of course, just fake it until you make it. Keep on going, keep on trying until you feel a part of society and a part of the community you have chosen. 
Good Luck!