Monday, September 26, 2011
But others in the tight-knit, ultra-conservative communities in Brooklyn are outraged, describing the plan's supporters as "radical feminists'' who don't care about traditional values like "modesty.''
Freier said, "Hatzalah is doing a fantastic job, but times have changed. We have female EMTs who have the same training as men. In emergency situations, a woman would be much more comfortable if she was being treated by another woman." Freier says she's won the endorsement of several prominent rabbis in Brooklyn and in the upstate Hasidic town of New Square, which implemented a similar program a few years ago.
Under the plan, female medics would not be first responders -- and would be brought in only when a patient is about to give birth or needs treatment for a gynecological problem. Hatzalah is a nonprofit, financed by donations. No women or non-Jewish man has ever applied, the source said.
Freier is supported by state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an influential politician who represents Borough Park.
"It's an idea that's worth looking at," he said. "I think the leaders of the community who are involved with Hatzalah need to be involved, and that's a process that can happen. I'm sure Hatzalah will listen and consider it."
But Hatzalah CEO Rabbi David Cohen said it's a non-issue. "This was discussed years ago by the rabbinic board. They said not to do it, and that's pretty much where we stand," he said. "It's not on the agenda. There's no reason to put it on the agenda."