Brooklyn, NY – VIN Exclusive: NY State Grants Operation Approval For Orthodox Women’s EMT Group


    FILE - Sarah Gluck and daughter Ruchie Freier founder of Ezras Nashim doing their rotations during EMT training May 2012 at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. Ezras Nashim was granted on Feb. 15 2013 a NY state permit to operate in the state of NY.Brooklyn, NY – In a significant development, seventeen months after a group of Orthodox women announced their plans to bring tznius to emergency medical care by founding an all female corps of emergency medical technicians to assist with labor, delivery and other emergency situations, the New York State Department of Health has given its approval to the fledgling agency.

    A letter obtained by VIN News dated February 15, 2013 and signed by the Deputy Director of Operations at Albany’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services granted the appropriately named Ezras Nashim a Basic Life Support First Responder agency code number.

    As previously reported on VIN News, Ezras Nashim has devoted endless hours in its efforts to provide women with dignified and modest emergency medical care, despite criticism by some factions. Earlier plans for the women to become a separate division of Hatzalah were shelved in favor of creating a new agency and the group was endorsed by Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, a prominent halachic authority.

    Ezras Nashim currently has forty certified EMTs and according to attorney Ruchie Freier who has spearheaded the group’s efforts, another twelve women are currently training to become certified. Freier herself has received EMT certification after taking the classes together with her mother this past summer.

    “When I got involved with Ezras Nashim, I realized that I couldn’t advocate for these women properly without becoming an EMT myself,” Freier told VIN News.

    Ezras Nashim received its first approval from the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City in late January, the first step in the process of receiving approval from the State’s Department of Health.

    “Everyone, including the health department has been extremely supportive of our cause,” explained Freier. “The aspect of Jewish women helping other Jewish women was a real factor here and people saw that religious women can be go getters who are dedicated and committed to championing for modesty in a proud way.”

    Ezras Nashim hopes to begin providing service in the near future and will have its own hotline and dispatcher. Medical transports will be done by a private company with the fire department serving as backup. EMTs will rotate on call 24/7 and will be met at the patient’s home by the transport service. Every EMT will carry an oxygen tank, epi-pen and an automated external defibrillator in her vehicle. Those members that do not drive will be paired up with other women that do.

    “We are aware that there are many women who don’t drive,” said Freier. “And sometimes in a labor and delivery situation these are exactly the type of women you need on that call.”

    Freier hopes to step up the training for her group of EMTs and will be working with two hospitals to provide an emergency room rotation program as well as a labor and delivery rotation program to provide advanced training to all personnel. She hopes in the future to set up a mechanism for frum women to train as paramedics as well.

    “We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” explained Freier. “We need to plan fundraising, more recruiting and further training but we couldn’t do that until we were an official legal agency. There has been so much behind the scenes work to get us to this point and the siyata dishmaya we have had has been incredible. The Health Department, the Fire Department, even the regulatory agency all knew who we were and they have been extremely supportive of our efforts.”

    The plans for Ezras Nashim were first announced on Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s weekly radio show in September 2011 and Hikind congratulated Mrs. Freier on Ezras Nashim’s latest accomplishment.

    “We believe in the concept of modesty and from the beginning Ruchie Freier was concerned about displaying sensitivity to women in emergency medical situations, particularly those who are about to give birth” said Hikind.

    “From day one Ezras Nashim has gone about this the right way, talking to rabbanim and people in the community. They are an example to all of us that when you fight for something you believe in, Hashem will help you.”

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    1. this is a great org. keep up the good work. my wife is currently in the ninth month, hopefully everything will go well with hashems help, i would defiantly call ezras noshim for help rather then hatzolah

      • Now you have to decide when your wife is in labor ( Please G-d it will go well) is this an emergency or can I call the ladies………is that split second delay worth it?

    2. This is the silliest thing I have ever heard and unsafe.
      So there is a separate transport service and separate lady EMT’s. Ladies with an emergency need to wait for 2 different entities to arrive?
      In an emergency situation you want the quickest response which is Hatzoloh.
      A better idea would be simply to have women as members as Hatzoloh.
      Women have been using male doctors for gazillion years if a lady wants a female doctor she is free to choose one but in an emergency don’t be stupid girls

      • Most childbirths are not true emergencies nor high risk. If there is a low risk pregnancy with medically trained midwives, there is no advantage to a hospital. If women choose to go to a hospital there is usually no need for Hatzalah. If it is a high risk pregnancy, then I’m sure a women will follow the advice of her doctor and call hatzalah if necessary.

      • in apartheid south africa, there were seperate ambulances for white and black people.
        there were instances of both blacks and whites delaying medical care/dying because the wrong race ambulance was the only one immediately available.

      • “A better idea would be simply to have women as members as Hatzoloh.”
        Unfortunately, that is not a possibility.
        I have read many ignorant comments on the issue, including “Women go to man doctors all the time”
        Well, there is a BIG difference between going to a nameless man doctor whom you will not see until the 6-month visit, and having the delivery done by the guy who stands next to you in Shul.
        The one point I keep coming back to, is:
        What is more basic to than not having a bunch of bearded neighbors staring at you when you are in that delicate situation?
        Of course, if there is no choice, then Pikuach Nefesh doche Hakol, you have the man deliver the baby.
        But if you can have women there instead of men?
        I have yet to hear a coherent reason otherwise.

        • “Of course, if there is no choice, then Pikuach Nefesh doche Hakol, you have the man deliver the baby”
          That was my point earlier who makes that decision and is it worth to waste those precious few moments ?

      • Male Doctor because of his profession, but the Hatzoloh is not a profession, and my wife will think 10x before calling Hatzalah because my “friend in shul” which is a first responder might show up…… so hard to understand??

      • well we live in america its a free country, so why cant you give the women the right of “Freedom of Choice” ??? if they are so smart as you, they will call Hatzolah and if they think different then you they will call Ezras Nushim, why are you against the right of freedom of choice ??? at least the small percent women who use Female Doctors at least they can have the right to use women hatzolah …

        • Women apparently don’t have freedom of choice…….they cannot join Hatzoloh. If you have enough time to decide who you want to be treated by in an emergency then you should just take a cab to the hospital and let the men and women deal with REAL emergencies

        • Don’t correct others when you don’t know what you are saying. Gender is a made-up (by “deconstructionists” with an ugly agenda) word that, according to its definition, “can refer to sex (i.e. the state of being male or female), social roles (as in gender roles) or gender identity (whatever the heck that is).” In other words, there are individuals of male and female sex, and there really no such phenomenon as gender.

    3. I hate to break it to you, but up until about 150 years ago, women did *not* go to male doctors, especially in areas like childbirth – they used midwives.

      As for 2 separate agencies, in most of NJ, the higher trained service (paramedics) don’t do transports. They have to wait for an ambulance, driven by EMTs, to transport the patient to the hospital.

      • They tried but Hatzolah politics got in middle and thwarted this great ideaa. These women should be congratulated משום נשים צדקניות שבאותו הדור נגאלו אבותינו ממצרים and it is women like this who will bring us the great גאולה. All I can say to these women is חזקי ואמצי.

      • They can’t work with Hatzalah, cause Hatzalah refuses to have anything to do with the idea of women serving women. They want to keep it all male, period. The women tried

      • Seems some people here still believe that having men exam a birthing women will lead to a safer delivery! There is absolutely no logic to this! The women are just as well trained , in fact the women of Ezras Nashim, in addition to being EMTs will have extra training in childbirth.Ten years down the line, we will look back and wonder how we ever had a society where there were no women available to deliver women!! Change in our way of thinking is hard for ppl to accept!

    4. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the end for those who want to keep women in the dark ages when it comes to medical care. A woman should be able to serve along side the men in the regular hatzalah but until they come out of their caves and allow for mixed gender emergency response team, a baas yisroel who wants a QUALIFIED woman to tend to her needs, can now get such a response.

    5. Just for the record, this idea was first introduced by the Skever Rabbi of New Square. There is a women dep in the NS Hatzlaha for the longest time ever!

      But I didn’t expect that a Chasidisha Hoif [let alone Skever..] would get any credit on this self hated jews website…

      Not advocating for Skever – but for Achdus and open your eyes how biased we have become 😉

      • Just for the record…
        HATZLOH was founded by you guessed it a chossid in williamsburg!

        To add my two cents, if not for the “PC politics” you could have had an ezras noshim division in hatzolh so that if there was an emergency the first call out by the dispatcher would have been for an ezras noshin. If none where available then a regular hatzolah member would be called.

        If there was any saychel …. fun vee nempt men saychel?

    6. Sometimes there IS the luxury of being able to specify a female EMT for a woman in labor, in which case, ceteris paribus, send the female EMT.

      But bureaucracies being bureaucracies, there is good reason to fear the “wrong ambulance” situations known to have occurred in apartheid South Africa (and, for that matter, in the American South during the Jim Crow era).

      Query: What’s next? Separate Ashkenazi and Sefardi women’s EMT services? If so, what happens if the wrong one arrives?

    7. My wife had 1 baby delivered by hatzalah she was very okay with the members acting valery respectfull delicate and tznius. She does not have any connenction to those men, but she would never want her neighbor, classmate, sisters friend deliver her. Its easier for her having it done by someone she will never meet again!!

      • Great!!! so your wife at her next baby will call again hatzolah! but does my wife who had bad experience with hatzolah “do you let her have the right to a different choice then you and call women EMT?”

    8. They’re like Susan B. Anthony of the frum world. How much will Hatzolah spend on PR against this group gaining ground in communities? I predict there will be rabbonim involved sooner or later, so the end result will be some families will have permission to call this group and others will have permission to only call Hatzolah.

    9. At last, women may choose competent, trained women for their emergency care needs without embarrassment from male neighbors and acquaintances. Hatzolah does a fine job, but no woman wants her [male] Hatzolah neighbor or her son’s rebbe, or the man from her grocery store looking at her unclothed, even if she is in labor. A female EMT is just what is needed. Response will be quick, as the EMT’s all live or work in Boro Park. There will be much less traffic congestion, as only one car will respond, not the many as Hatzolah does. Ezras Nashim’s first responder will be able to treat the woman patient from start to finish in a tznius, dignified manner. What a terrific idea whose time has come!

      • “as only one car will respond, not the many as Hatzolah does.”

        You obviously know nothing about REMSCO and protocols.

        Hatzolah doesn’t just send a few cars because they’re bored, there are protocols to follow or else the inevitable lawsuits from the “heimishe tzniusdigge oilam” come fast and short.

    10. Dispatcher: My wife is having terrible labor pains..please please
      Dispatcher: Whats the address please.? what floor is she at now?
      Dispatcher: All units please respond to emergency at …Webster ave.
      Unit B23: Sorry getting my kids on bus now …
      Unit B19: Sorry my car is stuck in 14 inches of snow
      Unit B11: Trying to get there but behing sanitation truck
      Unit W7: On Prospect Expwy should be there in 17 minutes
      Unit Q14: Getting dressed and taking my baby next door to baby sitter.ETA 19 min.
      Patient: Please please its getting worse ..please get me someone here…
      Dispatcher : Sorry we have no one before 16 minutes please call 911 or Hatzoloh…

      • You invoke every type of vile sexist and gender-based sterotype in the books…perhaps the above are indicative of the parochial thinking of the women in your life, but are certainly NOT the reaction of the women who have shown the mesiras nefesh to bring this proposal to reality. Shame on you.

        • Mesires Nefesh dosent save lives on its own….If you do not have enough members on the road to respond to an emergency it can never work…i sit in shul,simches,restaurants,and shop at stores when members get their call on the radio and they drop everything and they usually get to a call within 90 seconds to 3 minutes….Women usually spend their time at home or at work and till they get their car out and reach to the call the baby would have ben transported to the hospital by 911 or Hatzoloh….I do believe there is a need for women to attend childbirth cases in the heimishe communities but its mission impossible with traffic and congestion conditions in out streets…Maybe i am wrong ,will have to see what will happen with this new volunteers…i wish them loads of Hatzlocho and Hashem will pay them back for their great mitzvoh…

        • I am a retired Hatzoloh member but never in 12 years did i get a delivery call. But i can testify that every call that came to Hatzoloh were answered by the most respected members usually senior members with a great deal of experience…If anyone dosent feel comfortable with Hatzoloh then dial 911….the fireman do a great job and are trained how to handle those calls

      • You have a great sense of humor, but that’s not the way it will work. This will have huge commitment from the members on call. BTW are you a Hatzlolah member?

    11. Congregations Ezras Nashim! Thank You mrs. Freier and to the 40
      Certified EMT’s for all the hard work and for all the efforts you’ve put in to get this Major Breakthrough a reality here in Brooklyn too! Mazel Tov!!!

    12. whats intresting to me is the the same chasidisha men who scream and yell chasing the women to sit IN-BACK OF THE BUS becasue cant sit near women, the same men are screaming, why need women hatzolah? let the men touch the women and help them deliver babies….LOL what Hypocrisy!!

    13. I personally heard a Hatsolah member describing in detail the childbirth of a named woman, I don’t know why other rabonim besides rabbi Roth don’t raise a gevald about it.
      Women comprise half of EMT’s in america they can handle themselves just as men .

    14. I’m not going into the Halacha aspects because they have Rabbonim that support them. But what I don’t understand is where is the money going to come from? Are they going to support this org. themselves or are they asking the community to support them? If it’s the latter, don’t you think we have enough org. and Yeshivos to support? There are many people that don’t have enough money to live – how come we aren’t supporting them first? And if you say it’s Ossur to call Hatzolah – which Not e/o holds this to be true by women emergencies – then call 911. This Should Not be supported by the Frum community. And another thing – why are Frum women needing an ambulance anyways? Because they wait until the last minute. There is a lack of education in the Frum community. It’s the Docs fault and the women’s fault. All that was needed was s/o to educate the masses. Not a New Org.!
      This just sounds like a Kovod grab – the same reason many join Hatzolah.

      • Women need EMTs because they “wait till last minute”?? Uh, ever see childbirth? It kind of just happens. They can be perfectly fine, go to work all day, cook dinner and then BOOM! Contractions start.

        Who is to say one organization is more deserving than any other organization? Oh, cuz it is yours…. got it.

        • You are by far one of the most ignorant posters here. Uh right, I never seen childbirth. I’m a Med Prof and somehow got out of my Ob/Gyn rotation. Acc. to your logic contractions start and then two minutes later the baby comes out, right? And I’m the one who never saw a kid being born?!?
          And btw, I never was on Hatzolah. They should also support themselves. They sure have enough rich members.

      • Excuse me, but if you’ve never had sudden onset of labor or been stuck in a snowstorm during labor then count your lucky stars, not judge people who have no choice but have their baby delivered by men they know.

        • Go back to your hive. Yea, some people deliver at home due to unforseen circumstances – NOT most of the Frum women who deliver at home! And if you don’t want to call Hatzolah -then you can call 911. Having worked in EMS and then becoming a Med Prof – I have different opinions than most of the Frum public including the Rabbonim. And my opinion is Not based on PC like e/o elses’! I’m not a Chossid of Any EMS org., while some are slightly better than others. There are major defeciencies in many Orgs. that I see, whether paid or volunteer, whether Jewish or not. All they did was create another EMS org. without transport capabilities. Why would anyone call a group that can’t transport immediately? I know I wouldn’t. I’ll let you in on a little secret, since you never learned Chumash Shmos, Childbirth is Not part of Medicine and doesn’t need Med Prof, like me. The reason people use hospitals – for the one in a million case where you need the OR.
          What should have been done was to have the Rabbonim altogether work it out that women could be on Hatzolah for woman emeg. like they do in Squaretown. And I’m No Squareh Chossid. They could have worked it out acc. to all Shittos -Chassid -Litvish.

    15. Perhaps there should be one woman per hatzalah car, in case a woman is needed. If not, then she can just act like a regular hatzalah person.

      Oh, wait, yichud. Never mind. Call 911 instead, or just let natural selection apply.

    16. I would like to know exactly how they will be responding to these calls in their personal cars ? Child-Birth requires a prompt response, They cannot use Emergency Lights in their cars to move through Traffic like Hatzoloh.

    17. Reb Yechskel Roth is right, in Jewish history there were always מילדיות עבריות
      The absence of women in Hatsolah should be the biggest outcry fin other rabonim.
      What stupidity to say כל כבודה בת מלך פנומה, when arguing that a woman should expose herself to men

      • The argument here is not if women belong on Hatzoloh calls…Of course everyone agrees that a women is the appropiate person to handle those sensitive calls. No women feels comfortable being surrounded by numerous hatzolah members.
        Hatzoloh members are here to save lives and get the patient to the hospital at the greatest speed possible with the most respect to the patient..There is no way that any other organization no matter men or women can do the job as Hatzoloh does.
        Look at the 911 system…why does anyone believe Ezras Nushim will get there faster then 911….I think the right thing to do is that the first one to call should be Hatzoloh and they should be followed up by Ezras nushim…Once the first women certified EMT
        shows up on the call then all men should remove themself and be on stand by to carry the patient and baby to awaiting ambulance and Hatzoloh should do the transport.

    18. Something is terrobly wrong with many of the comments above. If you don’t like the idea of EN then don’t call them.

      Why all the nastiness and negativity? Why should anyone who doesn’t see a need for EN feel they have to try to stop it by making fun of it?

      Are all the anti EN comments coming from insecure Hatzolah guys? Or are there men out there who bedavka want their wives humiliated by having half their kiddush club watching their wife give birth? Does it bother you if your wife gets to keep a little of her dignity? Or do you figure that being married to you has left her with none anyway?

    19. If a woman is in labor in the hospital, she is almost always attended by female nurses. They only call the usually male doctor when it’s time to deliver. I would think that male Hatzolah members would be thrilled to have women take care of these patients instead them!

    20. Next week: your choice of HatzaLAH or Hatzoileh, depending upon what’s atop your head. Plus, an ambulance outfitted according to what you’ve eaten in the last six hours.

      I’m going to hibernate until Eliyahu comes and restores people’s seichel.

    21. If you read between the lines of 99% of the negative posts you will find a jealous Hatzolah member who feels like his turf has now been invaded.

      I’ll tell you all a bigger secret….90% or more of Hatzolah calls aren’t life threatening emergencies even though Hatzolah wants you to think they are.

    22. obviously this whole thing evolved because of need. women felt embarrased or ashamed when this circumstance arose and felt another option had to be found. so step aside men and let woman tend to woman who need and ask for a woman. if she is ok with a man, then she will call hatzolah.

    23. Kol HaKavod to the devoted women who want to serve the community.

      However, this article is troubling and aims to set dangerous precedents. As a medical professional I work alongside capable women with various degrees in the medical profession. I don’t believe there is any difference in their ability and competence.

      That said, the statement: ‘In a significant development, seventeen months after a group of Orthodox women announced their plans to bring tznius to emergency medical care by founding an all female corps of emergency medical technicians ” implies that to this point Hatzolo members and those who have benefited from their service were somehow lacking in tznius/modesty.

      “The aspect of Jewish women helping other Jewish women was a real factor here and people saw that religious women can be go getters who are dedicated and committed to championing for modesty in a proud way.” The point of an emergency medical corps is NOT to champion modesty but to save lives.!!

      Some issues to consider:

      1) These women will be EMT’s and should answer all calls, not just obstetrics.

      2) Will the availability of E.N. force women to choose between it and Hatzolo?


    24. This beneficial effort has the hechsher and beracha of Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, Karlsburger Rav, today’s LEADING CHASSIDISHE POSEK in America. Every remark herein attcking the Ezras Nashim is unadulterated chutzpa that is against Torah and Mesora. Yes, this forum is annymous, but HaShem knows exactly who you are. Does anyone here believe that they are more learned, wiser, smarter that the Karlsburger Rav?
      I am uninformed, but I read here that Skver had instituted a very similar effort. If so, who are we to even second-guess. I challenge anyone here to speak against Ezras Nashim. Let them present their credentials and reasoning. Otherwise, celebrate an innovation that is productive and blessed.
      P.S. I am not a member of Ezras Nashim, nor married to a member.


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