Hasidic Women Fight to Be EMTs in the Documentary 93 Queen

“We can have babies every year, but just being an EMT is something we can’t do?” Rachel “Ruchie” Freier, lawyer and founder of an all-women Hasidic EMT unit in Brooklyn, wonders in the trailer for 93 Queen.

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The documentary, from filmmaker Paula Eiselt, follows a group of Hasidic women forming their own Hatzolah, the volunteer EMT service for Orthodox communities. Hatzolah is made up entirely of men, which makes it awkward when volunteers need to assist women, especially those in labor, because in Orthodox communities men and women who aren’t family are technically not allowed to touch each other.

In response to that awkwardness, Hasidic women have been fighting to create their own EMT corps for years now, and Eiselt followed Freier’s efforts from 2013 to 2018 with her film, Gothamist reports. “If someone is invading your privacy, and you’re a woman, you want that person to be a woman,” Freier says.

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

I just started reading Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, and the author discusses the differences between Eastern European Jewish women and Italian women working in the garment industry in New York in the early 1900s and 1910s. He said that, while both cultures deferred to the father and oldest son, Orthodox Jews encouraged men to eschew work and focus on religion and studying the texts, leaving women to “make that possible.” And I was thinking that was the weirdest way a religion could ever empower women BY TELLING MEN THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WORK.