Since he was a child growing up in Toledo, Brad Kripke has valued a tight-knit Jewish community.
And thanks to that involvement, he now has a new position as a dentist at a local Jewish-owned and operated dental clinic, despite his field being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the Bexley resident and dentist joined the Carroll Family Dental practice in June, he first met his new employers, Drs. Aaron and Katie Carroll, many years ago through Alpha Omega, the international Jewish dental society they are all a part of.
The mission of the organization is to fight anti-Semitism in dental schools, but Kripke said it’s also a way for Jewish dentists to connect with one another.
Kripke previously worked at Worthington Pediatric Dentistry, but was furloughed at the start of the state-mandated COVID-19 shutdown.
As Alpha Omega’s Columbus chapter president, during the coronavirus shutdown he touched base with the organization’s members to see how they were doing. That’s when he first learned about the Carrolls’ desire to grow their Bexley dental practice, and Kripke knew it would be the right fit for him.
“I was able to kind of take this really low moment and turn it into a positive,” Kripke said.
Kripke said his new position offers further opportunities to connect to the local Jewish community.
“It’s been kind of neat though, since I started working (at Carroll Family Dental), seeing all these people from the community come into our office,” Kripke said. “I never really had that experience working in Worthington, because primarily there wasn’t a big Jewish community that was coming there. I feel like every day I’m playing Jewish geography of people who live on my street.”
Although he lives in New Albany, Aaron Carroll grew up in Bexley and was happy to have a member of his practice both live and work in the city.
“It’s really important to (my wife and me),” Carroll said of being a part of the Bexley community. “I grew up here and went to Bexley schools, and I definitely have a love for Bexley. That was really kind of the main motivation to work here … it was kind of like returning home to me.”
Along with fostering a sense of community at the dental practice and through Alpha Omega, Kripke is also the social chair for Young JewishColumbus where he plans events that strengthen the bonds of Columbus’ younger Jewish community.
“Obviously, you know, my role has changed a lot, but actually we’re working on some exciting programming that we’re about to announce pretty soon. … We’ve had to kind of adapt and get a little creative,” Kripke said.
Whether through his day-to-day tasks at work, running the Columbus chapter of Alpha Omega or planning events through Young JewishColumbus, Kripke said he values taking part in his community.
“Every day I feel like I get to connect with people,” he said.
Tim Carlin is the Irving I. Stone Editorial Intern at the Cleveland and Columbus Jewish News.