Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A group of Hasidic women who were denied membership in an all-male Orthodox ambulance corps has decided to branch out and start a women's-only EMT group.
Hasidic lawyer Ruchie Freier held a recruitment drive in her Borough Park home on Sunday and managed to sign up about 50 female EMTs trainees who had been turned down by Hatzalah.
The new core is called Ezras Nashim – Hebrew for "helping women" – and will assist patients giving birth who are uncomfortable being treated by a man.
"We're energetic, smart Hasidic women and we're fighting for modesty," Freier told the Post.
Freier had won the endorsement of several prominent rabbis and Assemblyman Dov Hikind in her efforts to get women into Hatzalah.
But Hatzalah higher-ups decided to keep the organization men-only for fear of mingling the sexes and of possibly delaying response times by stopping to pick up the women EMTs.
"We initially were looking to join Hatzolah as a separate division. We got the endorsement from some [rabbis]. But when we approached Hatzalah, they said it would create a delay in service," Freier said.
"We decided we don't want that. We weren't looking to create controversy in the community."
Ezras Nashim plans to get its sirens wailing by September.
"We're really excited about it," Freier said. "We just felt it was the right thing to do we were determined to make that happen."
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