Jewish Women In Brooklyn Launch “Ezras Noshim” All-Women Hatzolah Ambulance Service For Expecting Moms


hatzolahThe NY Daily News reports: The all-male Hatzolah EMT crew snubbed them – so a group of Brooklyn Jewish women are starting their own ladies-only ambulance service.

Borough Park lawyer Rachel Freier, 46, held the first recruitment drive Sunday for Ezras Nashim – Hebrew for “assisting women” – in her dining room.

She signed up 50 members from across the borough.

“If women are having an emergency, they should have the option of calling a woman,” Freier said.

Ezras Nashim will focus on helping mothers in labor. Their goal is to train 50 EMTs and birthing assistants by the planned September launch.

“This is not a new idea,” said new Ezras member Hadassah Strauss, 26. “Women have been delivering babies for thousands of years.”

Hatzolah leaders shot down Freier’s request last fall to let women into its 1,300 all-male corps, the city’s largest volunteer ambulance crew, which answers more than 50,000 calls a year.

Hatzolah also questioned whether giving patients the option to choose a female medic would increase its average response time of about three minutes – considerably lower than the FDNY EMS average response time of eight minutes in 2011.

But there’s no hard feelings. “I wish them good luck,” said Hatzolah president Heshy Jacob.

Women have complained that having their local Hatzolah respond when they are in labor is awkward since they may see those same men in synagogue and in the grocery store.

“I know women who are traumatized after delivering in front of so many men. That’s why I am here,” said a Williamsburg woman at the recruitment drive.

Ezras Nashim plans to survive on donations and is asking new recruits to pay for their own $1,000 training. Freier is also in talks with a private ambulance company to rush patients to the hospital, so the group won’t have to go through a costly state certification for emergency medical transportation.

Borough Park and Flatbush have the city’s highest concentrations of babies – predominantly born to Jewish women – according to the latest U.S. Census statistics.

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}


  1. If she has a haskomo from Gedolei Yisroel, why not? And only if such a haskomo is in place could any woman call on them for the deliverance of a child. The key to childbirth was never given to anyone – it, HaShem said, lies in His hand. Why would a woman going into the birthing of her child and is need of the Ultimate Rachmei Shmayim allow herself to be handled by anyone without the explicite approval of Gedolei Yisroel? But, if they approve, great! By all means!

  2. she will put many lives in danger hatzalah is a great organization that has saved so many lives since it began why put peoples lives on the line because of someone whos being stubern dont donate money to this give your tzedukah to hatzalah and if chas veshulem you need medical attention call hatzalah and by the way no one has ever complained for all thies years about hatzalah all we do is prais them so why fix something thats not broken

  3. by the way in talks with a local ambulance comapny whos going to show up woman or men what happens if thier is a complication at birth does this ambulance squad come as fast as hatzalah its clear that this woman has false intensions shes putting peoples lives in danger woman speak up against her

  4. This is a Chillul Hashem of the highest order! Going against Daas Torah?! This will surely fail! Also, it will never have the financial backing it will need! you are on a very dangerous road! Starting up with the Torah Hakdosha!

  5. Lets see: The claim is tznius. Yet having a non-Jewish ambulance company, with their mixture of females and MALEs driving the delivering mom is more tzniusdig than Hatzalah. Un huh.

    Is there a bridge you want me to buy in a package deal over here?

  6. #1 – Did you ask your da’as Torah? You probably don’t need to – you’re IT.
    Next time someone in your family has to give birth, don’t call anyone

  7. Hey ernie, #8, I never said I was daas Torah! I am NOT. If they have haskomo from daas Torah, a consensus of reputed Rabbonim, by all means! Both you and I agree to that! We also agree that they’re not going to get it!

  8. Makes excellent sense. If we’re so tznius that we don’t print pictures of women in our magazines, we should be equally sensitive to the feelings tzniusdik mothers-to-be.

    #3 – I think the woman and her husband would know why they are calling and would know which organization to call. And who’s to say they won’t come as fast? Hatzolah is a great organization, and I’m sure these women will work hard to be just as good.

    #6 – The guys from Hatzolah aren’t doctors either. They’re just very well-trained. Why shouldn’t the women be just as well-trained? And it makes less stress on the woman delivering, which is better for her and for the baby.

  9. If there is no emergency, by all means there’s no problem in taking a private car or a taxi (it also avoids burdening emergency services), otherwise – burying a baby is slightly traumatic too, if I may say.

  10. I can’t figure out why so much excitement and disapproval over this idea…..putting lives at risk?…..a chillul hashem? All the article states is that women would like the option of a lady assisting during an emergency. There are many qualified female nurses and women doctors in and around our area that could volunteer their time to this service.

    There is no reason why women are at greater risk if they call this organization over Hatzollah…these women will have the training needed to assist a women during child birth.

    I guess new ideas are frightening….I can still remember when noone would go to women doctors….doctors were men only! In time I am sure, it will be common place to see women helping other women during an emergency.

  11. I would rather have an experienced hatzolah individual delivering with proper backup emergency care than some woman who just completed a course with some ny ambulance backup. I don’t believe this is backed by daas Torah.

  12. If a woman is in a normal labor situation, she does not need Hatzola. If chas v’shalom a complication arises and the woman suddenly finds herself in need of expert medical attention -including perhaps delivery of her baby and transport to the hospital- then the Torah calls for her to opt for the quickest, most expert and most reliable service she can find. There is NO tzniyus issue at such times and whoever inserts tzniyus considerations at this point is termed by Chazal to be a “chasid shoteh”.

    We well understand that there is no room for taruvos in our wonderful Hatzola. We dare not set men and women up to have to be working side by side and hand in hand when an emergency arises.

    If the Ezras Nashim group wish to become birthing coaches, lamaze instructors or even a special car service for going to the hospital…kol hakavod. But to insert themselves in to dangerous medical emergency situations is misguided and the exact opposite of what tzniyus is meant to be.

  13. This is what she should have done to begin with,when she saw that Hatzala did not want to create a female-only response team. There is nothing wrong with it. As long as she publicizes her crew’s response time, versus Hatzala’s.

    But instead, she threatened them with a lawsuit, and besmirched their name, and frum yidden in general, in the goyishe press.

    Even now, she is busy with publicity in the Daily News. All this is of course, completely leshaim shomayim!

    Perhaps she also has a contract drawn up for the sale of bridge for anyone interested.

    Chuzpah Yasge!

  14. Is the percentage of Hatzolah runs that involve transporting women in active labor so high that the men feel threatened by women preferring to have other women attending to them? If there are competent women available, I’ll pick them over men every time. It is VERY rare for there to be a TRUE obstetric emergency before a laboring woman arrives at the hospital anyhow, no matter what the mode of transportation.

    There will still be (cv”s) broken bones, chest pains, etc. for the men to attend to. Hatzolah should be 100% in favor of this!

  15. correction #7
    when i posted it my comment #7 was #1
    this is to not giving a penny.

    to the rest of you.

    this is not about anything negative about hatzalah. hatzalah is a great organization and no one is saying anything different. however there is a need for transport of women in labor in which for tznius reasons there is a demand for women EMT’s
    so everyone just cut the vitriol stop cursing them out

  16. lets be objective. If,as #1 said they have the support of Gedolim, than we shall definitely support them. if they do not, than yes they are the female version of “TUNA BAGEL” which I believe was termed “CHEESE DAI-NISH”. SINCE WE DO NOT KNOW RIGHT NOW whether or not they have support, how about starting off by asking YOUR ROV, and save the hashkafa wars for the readers write.

  17. Women are quite smart. They can be trained very
    well, as well as men. I feel they should be tested
    before going out on calls. Also, would a woman leave her small children, in middle of supper if
    she is called? This needs major organizing. The
    concept is good. This way a woman will have a choice whom to call.

  18. Being from out-of-town, I’m not so familiar with Hatzolah, but why is Hatzolah being called for childbirth? Get in your car and go to the hospital, or if you don’t have a car, call a cab or car service, or have a friend take you. It is not like a heart attack, lo aleinu, which needs a response in minutes. There is plenty of time (usually hours) to get to the hostital, so anyone uncomfortable with Hatzolah has the opportunity to use other methods. And if Hatzolah is the only way for you to get there, chances are there is enough time to just get in the ambulance and have them give you a lift, while staying completely tznius. And if one finds oneself in a childbirth situation where the minutes really do count, wouldn’t you want the faster and more-experienced hatzolah anyway?

  19. #7 and #8, who said that you are? It is obviously preferable, all other things being equal, for a woman to assist a woman in childbirth.

  20. They haveno rabbonim supporting them. The leader of this ‘womens group’ believes that she is daas torah alone, in my humble opinion she is the oposite of daas torah

  21. Yochid V’Rabim – halacha K’Rabim.

    The financial resources of Klal Yisroel should not need to be further taxed by a woman’s only club. V’Hatorah Chas al M’Mono Shel Yisroel.

    Only men are given the ability to practically handle a Halacha side of any emergency.

    There will be NO Syiata D’ishmaya with a break from tradition.

    I will not wish good luck, as there is no source for a Brocho to be Chal on.

  22. # 17-not always is there enough time. That is why sometimes people have babies at home, in cars etc. Hatzaloh have delivered – nobody would care if they would just see them for the ride. It is when you have your neighbor delivering you that makes it uncomfortable.

  23. Brilliant and wishing them Hatzlacha Rabah! As long as these women are well and properly trained, it is wonderful and makes common sense!

  24. This is a very wise decision and wishing these women hatzlach rabah! It makes common sense as it is preferable to have women aiding women. As long as they are properly trained, kol hakavod!

  25. Rav Yechezkel Roth is oolpposed to this feminist endeavor. When Rachel Freier was shopping her story to the secular media, a journalist asked her which rabbis support this. She adamently refused to identify any, though claimed there ilare a couple of rabbi’s somewhere that allegedly support this.

  26. i think women as emts is ok however, i think there may be a safty problem i think they should be part of hatzala but with a seperate phone number so that if there is an emergency emts even if male will be able to assist i wish them hatzlacha rabba

  27. I spoke recently to the skverer rebbe shlit”a, and this topic came up.
    He said: If woman can be Doctors, Surgeon’s etc., then why can’t they be capable of assisting in childbirth.
    I personally am an EMT (male), and think they can do a perfect job!
    Btw, this is not an issue of ?????? its an issue of being comfortable while giving birth! (which by the way, that’s the number 1 rule when assisting with childbirth! to make the mother be the most comfortable possible)! Thanks!

  28. Woman buckle under intense pressure. Golda Meir ,froze and couldn’t function when the six day war broke out while she was prime minister.

  29. I dont understand why people are opposed to the CONCEPT,this is not some random idea from left field. We see in the torah that shifra and puah helped give birth to all the inhfants in klal yisrael, and even more so the torah says that hashem benched them with batim, which rashi says it means “batei kehuna,leviya, and malchus” (shemos 1:21).
    The approach to this initiative, on the other hand is a totally different matter. If they go and dirty the names of fine and reputable organizations and cause bad feeling and strife all around just because some people are opposed , which would undoubtably happen as in everything in life, then that is not right, and something needs to be reassesed.

  30. If they won’t be forming their own ambulance corps (to avoid having to purchase an ambulance) they will not be authorized to have red lights or sirens on their cars. How then, will they respond to these emergency childbirths?

  31. Why fix something that aint broke? For all those who are affraid of seeing the men in shul… Please remain on the right side of the mechitza!

  32. To 35 (Anonymous): I’m not going to start hocking though I’ll just say this – as a woman I don’t personally feel a need.
    But before you publicly don’t exactly bensch other Jews (remember that pasuk, vehye bracha?) I hope you thought long and hard. You must have very broad shoulders to feel comfortable saying something like this, which leaves me wondering why you wouldn’t want to sign your name.
    I’m sure if you reconsider the moderators will be happy to remove your post.

  33. #42 – Golda Meir didn’t freeze – Moshe Dayan froze! Mrs. Meir depended on the leadership of Tzahal and the Defense Minister, and they blew it for the first few days of the war. Believe me, I read everything I could about that war – it was the one I almost got killed in.