This piece first appeared as “Hatzalah Should Allow Female EMTs” on The Sisterhood blog of the Forward.
“Modesty” is again holding back women in the Haredi community. Although I don’t agree with it, I can sort of understand how the prohibition against women sitting in the front of a bus, walking on a certain side of the street or talking on cell phones in public can relate to tsnius, or modesty, and guard against the mixing of the sexes. But now comes a case where I just cannot see the logic, no matter how hard I try.
The New York Post recently reported that dozens of Orthodox women trained as emergency medical technicians are asking to join Hatzalah, the all-Jewish, Brooklyn-based volunteer ambulance corps.
The women are being represented by lawyer and community activist Ruchie Freier, who says she has the endorsement of prominent rabbis in Brooklyn and New Square (where Orthodox women reportedly serve as EMTs). She also claims that Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Boro Park, thinks that having women join Hatzalah is an idea worth considering.
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© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.