Where do you live?
I live in New York City with my wife, Jenna, and daughters, Mollie and Penelope. It’s hard to believe that I moved away from North Miami Beach nearly 20 years ago.
What is your current profession and where do you work? How did you come to work in this field?
I am a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and my private office is on Madison Avenue. I perform more complex hospital-based procedures at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center. In 2010, upon completion of my training as Chief Resident, I became a member of the Full-Time Faculty and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center. During my 5 years at Columbia, I served as Associate Program Director for the Residency Program. In 2014, I was fortunate to join a prominent private group in midtown Manhattan and transition my academic practice to focus more on my private patients. Over the last 8 years, I have been a Team Consultant Oral Surgeon for the New York Yankees, New York Rangers, and New York Knicks - all while maintaining my love for the Marlins, Panthers and Heat!
My career has been a natural progression from being passionate about art and science from a very young age. I always loved using my hands which led me to dental school. Within days of starting dental school, I had my eyes set on the intricate and complex nature of surgery and haven’t looked back since. My particular specialty encompasses so many aspects of medicine and dentistry - the incredible advances in technology have allowed for some truly remarkable procedures and results.
What educational path did you follow?
I received my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Fine Art from Brandeis University and my Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Columbia University. I completed my Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center. Since 2010, I have been an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Columbia and Cornell. In 2013, I received Board-Certification. In 2016, I had the honor of being named a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
What is most rewarding about the work you do? What are the challenges?
I have one of the greatest occupations in the world. Whether it's treating an individual's pain or stabilizing their condition or eradicating their pathology, I help make people better. At times, I may be called to stabilize a serious injury or trauma from a fight, gun-shot or car accident, which is a more intense moment than when I am asked to correct a facial skeletal or jaw deformity. But whatever the situation is, my passion never fades as I relish the opportunity to learn and experience every day. Overall, what I find most challenging is also the most rewarding - when treating patients, it’s a delicate balance between displaying compassion, empathy and sensitivity as a provider while demonstrating confidence and being assertive as a surgeon.
What is one essential academic or life skill you honed at Scheck Hillel?
I attribute the bulk of my life skills to my parents who raised me and my sisters, Gabrielle Schpilberg (’96) and Jordana Carmel (’01), with all the essential values deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. The myriad relationships I forged when at Hillel were a perfect complement. Interpersonal and communication skills are vital to success, and I learned this through those interactions. The incredible teachers, rabbis and coaches at Hillel were remarkable mentors, crucial to my academic and personal development. My classmates, some of whom began Hillel with me in pre-K, must be mentioned. I cherish the lifelong friendships I made during my 15 years at Hillel. When I hear about the successes and paths of my friends from the class of 1998 it makes me smile, and I'm proud to be one of the students that have walked Hillel’s halls.
I am proud to say that my family is deeply intertwined with Hillel. My mother, Susan Koslovsky, served as President from 1998-2001. My niece and nephew, Alexander and Sofia Schpilberg, are members of the Class of 2025 and 2028, respectively. Rotem Carmel (’97) is my brother-in-law. My cousin, Josh Meisels (alumnus), currently serves as Director of the Samuel and Henrietta Scheck Middle School and my aunt, Roberta Meisels, was one of my pre-K teachers and currently serves as Librarian of the Lower School.
What is your advice for future Hillel students who might consider a career in your field?
Don’t take shortcuts - they may be meant to get you somewhere faster, but almost certainly, not better. Drive is important but do stop and smell the roses - this is something I have to remind myself almost every day. Lastly, pursue in life what you are truly passionate about and everything will fall into place.
What is the last book you read/podcast you heard that taught you something you didn’t know before?
Just last night, I finished the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, which I read with my daughters. I don’t know if I ever realized just how much food was consumed on that Saturday!