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Sep 21, 2011

Female Hatzala-Style Organization Facing Opposition

I think in the end most things come down to money. It is either that, or else this new issue in New York reeks of serious sexism. In my opinion there is probably a little bit of sexism involved, but mostly they are worried about money and competing organizations taking some of their pie.

A womens group in New York wants to expand their unit, called Ezras Nashim,  a first aid unit that is part of Hatzala in New Square. They wish to open similar units in other parts of New York, and are meeting with opposition from Hatzala.

According to Bechadrei, the Hatzala organization originally had female paramedics, but eventually they were no longer allowed to operate within Hatzala, under the directives of rabbonim. The women say that it is time to have such a team of women to respond to calls in which women are involved, such as births and other emergencies.

Hatzala is trying to stop them from opening, and is trying to take them to beis din for a hearing.. The statement from one of the leaders of Hatzala is fairly sexist in saying that he opposes it because the women will not be able to perform the necessary duties involved. He said, "A Hatzala volunteer does not just need equipment and knowledge, but has to be in good physical shape. The volunteer needs to lift people up and carry stretchers, and these are activities the women will have difficulties with."

In the end these types of fights are usually about money, and the fear that someone else is taking part of my pie.


  1. A group of men who pray "באמונה שלמה) "ברוך שלא עשני אישה)
    every morning of their lives is more than likely to be misogynist by nature.

  2. This is nuts. What is the problem if a female paramedic takes care of you. What, your going to be "stimulated" while you are in an emergency condition> Doesnt the Talmud say "dont be too righteous...if you aww a woman drowning go in and swim and take her back to shore..." What is going on? Will a woman in dire need be upset if a good looking male paramedic arrives to help her? Will she be stimulated to sexual thoughts at his touch? If she is in an emergency situation she needs help male or female. Same for guys - if you need help it matters not who helps as long as you receive help.

  3. Hatzala members need to be in shape. That's a big laugh. The typical Hatzala hocker is not known for his physique.

  4. Many hundreds of female Mada volunteers show what a load of nonsense that is.

  5. Hatzala's objections are based on interactions between male and female responders, not responders and patients. I personally happen to disagree with them, but I do understand the basis of the original Psak not to have women members. Times change, though, and it may be time to revisit the issue. I know of a number of Frum women in Brooklyn who volunteer for non-Jewish volunteer ambulance services because of their desire to contribute while being frozen out by Hatzala.

  6. anonymous - that is also correct. when we first moved out here my wfe became a paramedic with MADA. when they started to form a unit based in RBS, they refused to take her on the team for that reason. even though they did not have enough people at the time.

    on the other hand, in the case of this post we are talking about an all-female unit, so this is clearly not the cause of their objection

  7. Rafi - Anon 5:28 here.

    Kol HaKavod to your wife. As mentioned, I do not agree with Hatzala's position, at least in part because I think their concern can be addressed - and having a single-gender separate group is one way of addressing the issue. My point was to clarify the issue - since an earlier poster had seemed to assume that the issue was responder/patient interaction.

  8. correction, my rebbetzin trained to be an EMT, not a paramedic

  9. I thought it was just Washington Heights Hatzala that originally had female members? Either way, I understand the organization's feelings that having two competing volunteer ambulance groups running may not be best.


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