A dental practice in Houston recently added a second dentist to its roster.
Joining Dr. Tom Baggett at his Houston Dental Center on Holder Drive is Dr. Rob Kaufman, a resident of Efrat, Israel.
Raised in Los Angeles, Kaufman graduated dental school from New York University in 1995, and began a private practice in New York City about a year later.
Before finishing dental school, Kaufman met his wife Jill – a nutritionist and native New Yorker – and the two lived in the Big Apple until deciding to move with their children to Israel in 2008. Kaufman still maintains a practice in New York and has been commuting across the Atlantic Ocean to keep tabs on it since the move. His new role at the Houston Dental Center will involve working two weeks each month.
A mutual friend of Baggett and Kaufman – Rabbi Moshe Rothchild – helped the two connect when Baggett expressed the desire to find someone who could be present while he pursued interests that required travel. Ironically, one of the places Baggett frequently visits is Israel because of his involvement with Teach For Israel, which connects rabbis and Christian leaders in support of Israel. Baggett, who is also a pastor, is one of that organization’s board members, while Rothchild – who lives in Efrat – is a co-director.
“He was looking for someone part time, which is hard to find,” Kaufman said. “But it’s perfect for me, and it was a good match.”
“I couldn’t just trust the practice to anybody while I’m away,” Baggett said. “I needed somebody with experience who knows what they’re doing and I can see that their work is appreciated by patients. The interesting thing is while I’m in Israel, he’ll be here, and when I’m here, he’ll be in Israel.
“But Rob is a great fit.”
Efrat is south of Bethlehem and is about 10 minutes from Jerusalem. Kaufman said he has always lived a city life and adjusting to the rural nature of Texas County has been an eye-opening experience.
“I grew up in L.A., I lived in New York and I’ve flown over this part of the country dozens of times,” he said, “but I never realized there were people here between the two cities. But seriously, it’s beautiful out here and everyone is very friendly.
“It amazes me that when I go into a store or something, a complete stranger will start talking to me. If you did that in New York, it would be like, ‘are you talking to me?’”
The Houston Dental Center’s phone number is 417-967-5001.