Hon. Ruchie Freier: Many Women Need A Woman To Treat Them, Ezras Nashim Addresses This Need

Last nights event (VosIzNeias.com)

BORO PARK (VosIzNeias) — In the wake of the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council (REMSCO) hearing which took place last night regarding Ezras Nashim’s request for a Certificate of Need allowing them to operate an ambulance in Boro Park and Kensington, VosIzNeias interviewed Hon. Ruchie Freier, a New York City judge who is also the founder of the Ezras Nashim organization, in an attempt to understand why the organization is looking to operate its own ambulance.

Ezras Nashim, which has been providing emergency service for the last few years, has operated up to now with cars and used local ambulance services when transport is required but now they want to buy and be licensed to use their own ambulance which will enable them to expand their services and treat the growing needs of local women more effectively.

At the outset, Freier said that she does not in any way intend to detract from the work of Hatzalah as a renowned and dedicated network of international organizations serving Jewish communities worldwide. People are deeply grateful for Hatzalah’s work and rely on their services for their own families and friends. However there is still a significant void in first-response EMS in the orthodox Jewish community which Ezras Nashim needs to fill, namely a proper and dignified emergency pre-hospital care for women provided by women.

Freier related the story of a woman living in a far-off community in Israel who tried to delay calling for help because she wanted a female to assist her and this eventually led to a complicated and difficult operation. There are many women who are embarrassed and shy to receive treatment from a strange male and all the more so from a male who may be their neighbor.

Celia Pomerantz, a nurse who volunteers for Ezras Nashim said that the stress of being treated by a man, for some, can cause “lasting physical trauma.”

“We are taught that certain parts of our bodies must be private and cannot be seen or touched by another man, except our husbands … this is the culture of modesty,” Pomerantz said.

Last nights event (VosIzNeias.com)

It is therefore imperative that such women, who sometimes may not know the severity of their medical situation but often require immediate treatment and are reluctant to call on male EMT’s, have the option of calling on a female EMT to provide what is often life-saving care for them.

In many Hatzalah organizations,  female EMT volunteers also serve an integral role, such as in the United Hatzalah organization in Israel and the Skver community in New Square. However for various reasons Hatzalah in New York refuses to employ female volunteers and at the same time has made strenuous efforts to prevent Ezras Nashim from growing into an independent service for those women who desperately need it.

During the hearing, Hatzalah presented a number of women who stated that they were satisfied with the treatment they had received at the hands of men. Freier responded that this is like saying that a synagogue does not require a ramp since all of the members are not disabled. They may not all be disabled but if a disabled person comes along he has the right like everyone else to enter the synagogue. Thus a certificate of need can be granted to those who need it even if they are a minority of the population.

Moreover, Hatzalah contended during the hearing that the Ezras Nashim response times of 8 minutes is far below the response time of Hatzalah which can be less than 2 minutes. Yet as Freier rightly pointed out, this is the exact reason that Ezras Nashim needs ambulances, in order to improve and advance its capabilities and provide a response where required.

Above all, Freier stressed that Hatzalah’s rejection of female volunteers is unconstitutional and illegal. There is no reason that women should not be able to serve as EMT’s and certainly no reason to prevent them from developing their own organization. Freier added that despite being advised to litigate on these grounds years ago, Ezras Nashim preferred not to so as to avoid a Chilul Hashem. Unfortunately, by opposing the ambulance application in a legal preceding, Hatzalah have now exposed the issue, since the REMSCO committee asked them why they do not accept women, to which no legitimate response was offered.

To contentions made by Hatzalah that there is rabbinic opposition to the organization, Freier responded that Ezras Nashim enjoys the warm support of many rabbis, including such giants as Rabbi Chaim Kanievski, Rabbi Eli Dov Wachtfogel, Rabbi Yaakov Hillel and Rabbi Moshe Bransdorfer as well as many other Torah personalities who have asked to remain anonymous due to the political consequences.

Last nights event (VosIzNeias.com)

Video below part of the hearing.

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  1. Does anyone know why she needs to get permission from anyone to operate ?
    Why not let the people decide ? If no one sees the value they will simply not call on the organization .

    Normally we as a society don’t grant a monopoly to any business , shul , or chesed organization .
    There are today many wonderful organization that do vital work for the klal who may overlap in certain areas .

  2. I know a local frum lady, who suddenly went into labor and needed medical assistance to deliver a baby. Hatzola was called and at least 2 local young men from shul came to help deliver her baby. These guys live in the neighborhood (may daven in the same shul) and shop at the same kosher supermarket.
    One time, while shopping, this guy comes up to her and says “Hi Mrs _x_, how are you?” (She has no idea who he is.) “This baby must be _y_! I’ll never forget her as I helped deliver her!”
    Awkward is not the word!
    I have heard this from the woman herself.
    And I know there are plenty other similar stories.

    Hatzola was wrong not to allow women to join, and now there is a separate womens only service to fill that need. They clearly need to have their own ambulances too.

  3. As a woman, I don’t feel comfortable being touched and treated by a man. In a case where there is no woman EMT available, this is a necessary evil, but since women EMTs are available and could be integrated into Hatzolah at any time, it’s an unnecessary evil.

  4. I generally support Hatzolo and I am thankful for all the help they do. Nevertheless there are issues and have always been issues. I tried to join Hatzolo back in the early days, about the early 70’s. I was turned down as a bocher. They did soon after accept another Bocher, it sure helped him in getting into medical school. They also accepted a new member that was driving the ambulance in snow, as a totally new driver he was a hazard to all and people died because he kept getting stuck in snow.
    I would consider listening to the new people before dismissing it immediately.

  5. “Freier responded that Ezras Nashim enjoys the warm support of many rabbis, including such giants as Rabbi Chaim Kanievski, Rabbi Eli Dov Wachtfogel, Rabbi Yaakov Hillel and Rabbi Moshe Bransdorfer as well as many other Torah personalities.”

    #1 – Rabbi Chaim never gave his Haskamah to them.
    #2 – She has 3 Rabbonim from out of NYC. Over 50 local NYC Rabbonim signed a letter opposing her. She wants to open in NYC and can’t find one local Rov to support her? Does this not raise a red flag?
    #3 – Having an ambulance will not cut down their response time. The ambulance always takes the longest. Its the members that drive their own car that show up the fastest.

    She may be a Judge but going against Das Torah wont help her with the ultimate judge HKB’H

  6. my wife went into labor really quickly. we knew that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital on time. So we called our FRUM “lady” dr. and she responded “Call Hatzalah”. they came in under 2 min(i can attest to that) and they worked in a very professional, modest way(wife says they “turned” their heads away). after everything was done I asked the dr. why she didnt refer us to ezras nashim? she responded “because i wanted your baby to live”.

  7. Richie Freier is a roll model and speaks with respect and integrity. Denigrating her effort especially when having no first hand knowledge of her organization is Lawson Hara, plain and simple.

  8. I guess Shifra and Puah would not have been allowed to deliver babies for Mitzrayim Hatzoloh. Never mind that every instance of someone in Tanach delivering a baby, if identified, is identified as female. We know Rochel had a midwife when Binyomin was born. No mention of any men in the room. Tamar had a midwife when Peretz and Zerach were born. Maybe in Shas there is a story of a male delivering a baby but none come to mind.

    Yes, my wife’s OB is male.

  9. to have a female is fine and great(our’s is) but thats someone YOU are going to for your care
    but when you need EMERGENCY care you must recieve it ASAP. not after 15 min….

    • There are different level of emergency. And often the gender of the EMT makes the difference between calling and not calling. Not calling is a longer delay than the response time.

  10. My wife went into labor two times that we had to call Hatzolah.
    The first time, the first member on the seen was none other than my brother. He had to respond, because we lived not so close to Boro Park, and till the other members get there will take a good few minutes.
    He came into the house and said that I am staying outside, and if something drastically happens then call me in. When he went outside he radioed to the dispatcher that this was his sister in law, and could not go on, so the dispatcher told the other members to proceed on a code one. And BH everything worked out great.
    The next time we had to call Hatzolah, we were living in Boro Park, and the closest unit lived across the street. He as well came over right away, but did not go close to my wife at all. He did drive the ambulance to the hospital.
    I must say that in both cases, my wife was treated with extreme dignity!!!!

    Regarding this whole conversation about needing lady’s. I honestly don’t understand it. Most O B G Y N Drs are men, and most regular Drs are men as well.

  11. Lets put in perspective. Lets say that ezras nashim are good trained individuals, people that know how to deal with emergencies. And there is a situation with a woman that needs emergency care. So you can either call ezras nashim to assist you and to make you feel more comfortable (in the case that you were “conscious”), and to coo you etc. however to recieve this “prime” care you would have to wait “8 min.” or to call well trained and experienced Hatzala members (bp alone has around +/- 250), and get the treatment you need quick and effectively in under 2 min. YOU CHOOSE!!!!!!!!!

  12. I don’t understand, at first i was thinking what is wrong with Hatzalah? Hatzalah is a great organization. Why make new things?!!

    Then I thought about it and I now side with Ezras Noshim.

    Each person has the right to choose who they want to call, If Ezras Noshim comes 10 min after Hatzalah or 3 hours after Hatzalah would come It is up to the INDIVIDUAL to decide who they want to call and who the INDIVIDUAL wants to take care of their body.
    What is wrong with having an Ezras Noshim and an option for some ladies who decide that they want to call them? We should live in a society where people have choices and someone should be able to decide who they want to call.

    Hatzalah is great but they have no business getting involved in Ezras Noshim business.
    If Mrs. Frier wants to make an organization that she feels will help some people then let her do it.
    Let the people decide if there is a need for it. If they are lousy they will close down.

    INDIVIDUALS should have the right to decide not Rabonim or askonim.
    If a family want to discuss this with their personal Rav or Rebbi and then decide what to do that is great, but to make a blanket anti-Ezras Noshim is totally unwarranted.

  13. Its a real shame that Hatzolah didnt find a way to cooperate with ezras Nushim, by providing backup ambulance service, for example. This is tantamount to Mesirah by Hatzolah. Why would they actively oppose the application? In the end this will be a big waste of resources. We dont need more ambulances clogging our streets. If only they could find a way to cooperate.

    East Midwood could have used this opportunity to become relevant. THey could have made a deal with Ezras Nashim, to either accept women members, or to provide backup ambulance service. That would have distinguished them from Hatzolah and would have made them relevant. A shame.

    The once universal kiddush hashem of Hatzola has turned into a chilul hashem by opposing a fellow jew and by publicly discriminating against women.

    Rachel took the high road and didnt make a scandal about Hatzolah discriminating. So hatzolah had to come out looking ugly. Shame shame

    • Hatzolah will gladly back them up with ambulance service should they choose to call them but they choose not to

      East Midwood has woman members first of all and under the radar Hatzolah calls them when needed

      East Midwood will not make a deal with EN because they are not looking for a fight with Hatzolah but of course they will if called back them up with ambulance service

  14. Ezras Nashim is a very dangerous organization for the following reasons:
    1. They are creating an organization that promotes determining care based on gender. If a woman is in labor and she skips over a male Hatzalah member who is closer to her for a female Ezras Nashim strictly because of her gender and the baby or mother ח”ו dies she is עובר על לא תעמוד על דם ריעך at best or murder at worst.
    2. If a medical professional doesn’t ” use it he/she loses it”. Because Hatzalah responds and is set up for all types of calls they are more equipped and experienced in dealing with complications that are secondary to birth. Ezras Nashim has such a specialized mission that they will not be fluent in dealing with such things as cardiac arrest, hemorrhage…. It is careless to create an emergency organization that isn’t best ready for any scenario.
    3. Hatzalah has saturated all their neighborhoods with responders so by definition their response time cannot be beat by any organization that is not the same size.
    Finally I live in a community that a majority of the women use male doctors, I am sure that percentage wise that if true in NY. It may true that it is not optimal and possibly uncomfortable for a woman to be treated by a male professional but when someone calls for a medical emergency the gender of the response be the last thing on their mind.

  15. I understand the idea of having ezras Nashim. But seems like a waste in resources. Hatzalah does a great job in respecting women and their rights as patients. Hatzalah has been around for many many years. They have inter agency protocols that have been perfected over several decades. Also if a man decides to call Ezra’s Nashim they need to completely treat the patient as they would a woman. Also think of it like this. If they are dealing with a woman who can’t walk onto the bus how would they lift or carrier down a 200 or 300+ pound woman. Also Halacha completely allows men to treat a woman for emergencies. A woman who doesn’t feel comfortable has a problem due to the fact she needs to take care of her body now and who will that be doesn’t matter as long as it here and now. Feeling uncomfortable with a man treating a women must be the call isn’t an emergency. I have never heard of a situation that someone was in need of emergency help and they were picky as to who will be their emergency care provider. Hatzalah has been doing great by the nyc community at large for so many years. No reason for changes and we dont need to add to the emergency care that hatzalah has been providing up till now.

  16. Also yes it a free market and free country any one can come and open up shop. Hatzalah’s has treated women of all walks of life and I have seen Hatzalah treat women that couldn’t stop thanking them for being their at a time of need. So what’s the purpose of ezras Nashim. Hatzola has been serving the community since 1960 with utmost care and respect as I have needed them and my wife has needed them and gave superb care that neither myself or my wife had any complaints.

  17. Very simple reason why Hatzoloh doesn’t want this. They get State Funding $$$ and if Ezras Nashim were to get approved Hatzoloh would get a smaller cut of the $$$. As amazing an organization as they are, it’s run Mafia style.

  18. Rabbonim AGAIN prove they are a pathetic joke. Now one of the greatest organizations we ever had has fallen into the mud with them. This seems to do with Money or power. I do not know the insides on how the ambulance services work.

    At the end of the day it’s up to the women to choose which ambulance service she wants. What is so wrong with that?

    The Rabbonim who scream tznius this, tznius that. Then this they have a big uproar over!!! Hyrpociates at the highest level. They just prove again why people do not listen to them anymore.

    We should be celebrating Ezras Noshim. It makes no sense why someone in our own community would stop them. I will still call Hatzalah but they have lost some of our respect over this.

  19. Since Ezras Noshim has made its appearance Hatzolah became more strict with how they handle female patients. So it seems like Hatzolah is amazing.

    Many of these members are such pigs. This is legal porn for these guys.

    Don’t tell me that a member can help a woman deliver a baby with his head turned. That’s dangerous.

    Every Hatzolah member chalishes to have a birth call.

    I have my own story with what I had with a Hatzolah member touching me unnecessarily.

  20. no one really answerd the fair point that was said before that many women today go to male OBGYN which is befirush asking for a lack of tznius so why is that never disscussed or debated…

  21. I think that way we should settle this is by changing each hatzolah member $25 per LED or strobe light and $100 per siren and there would be plenty of money for both place

  22. Hatzolah should except women on the condition that they only respond to cases of women injured in the Mikva, OBGYN cases and the like and the caller can also request a woman if their uncomfortable being treated by a man but if the case is extremely life threatening men should be able to respond too

  23. @Mightysmart the hatzolah member that touched you “unnecessarily” was doing protocol checking and I know many hatzolah members who are fine with out taking birth calls and only would take them if their the closest unit


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