Op-Ed: Dov Hikind Takes On Hatzolah’s Daas Torah

(Monday, September 19th, 2011)

For years I have supported Dov Hikind. When others criticized, I defended him. What do I like most about Dov? His passion.

Unfortunately, in light of recent events I can no longer defend Dov much less support him. Let me explain. Dov Hikind has a weekly radio show. He usually tackles interesting issues like politics, kids at risk and controversial issues too. This past motzei shabbos Dov spent most of his show seemingly promoting a new radical feminist agenda: forcing women into Hatzolah.

As a long-time fan of Dov but even a longer Hatzolah member, I was sick to my stomach. Dov brought on several women who claim that tznius mandates that Hatzolah have women available for certain calls like a women giving birth. Dov proclaimed that this was a “no brainer.”

First, let’s be clear. Hatzolah is one of the oldest and most respected organizations in our community because everything that Hatzolah does is L’Shaim Shmayim. The reason Hatzolah was created was to ensure that even our injured community members would be treated with respect and al pi halacha. In fact, not only does Central Hatzolah ask shayhlas of the unquestioned gedolei hador, every local Hatzolah has their poskim as well.

Every single shayla from Hilchos Pikuach Nefes, to Hilchos Shabbos is dealt with at the highest level. The shayla of women joining Hatzolah was taken up by years ago by the likes of the Debertziner Rov ZATZAL, Rav Moshe Feinstein ZATZAL, and other major Poskim. Das Torah on this issue is unequivocal: for reasons of tznius women may not join Hatzolah. Think about it, co-mingling, yichud, taharas hamishpacha – the list goes on and on. The idea that Dov Hikind can question the psak of our gedolei hador is shocking to me.

Hatzolah has been around for decades, and responds to tens of thousands of calls each year. With all due respect to his track record, Dov Hikind is a NYS Assemblyman. Perhaps he forgot that. He is not a member of Hatzolah and surely not one of Hatzolah’s senior Poskim.

So Dov I ask of you, please publicly disavow your remarks or at least tell us who your Das Torah is that has authorized you to take on our Gedolei Hador. Unless you do that immediately, I am sorry to say you have lost a fan forever.

Sincerely,

A long-time New York Hatzolah member.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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75 Comments

  1. simon01 says:

    Any women who wishes that Hatzalah have Women volunteers to respond to certain calls, is free to call the City EMS, Hatzalah shall only operate according to the psak of our poskim, Not the psak of a Politician

  2. Spira says:

    Baruch Hashem I merited being a co-founded of Washington Heights Hatzolah back in the 1970s, together with Rabbi Yehoshua Kaganoff. I was also the first NYC-EMS certified paramedic in the organization to the best of my knowledge, as well as the first frum paramedic in the NYC-EMS. I was working for the now-defunct NYC-EMS, which has since become FDNY-EMS.

    Shortly after its inception, due to difficulties in providing daytime coverage, Rabbi Shimon Schwab ZT”L gave haskoma to permit married women to respond, under very well-defined conditions, during the daytime, as well for OB/GYN calls. The Rov took a considerable amount of heat, including from Hatzolah general, with leaders of the organization scoffing the Gadol HaDor for his decision.

    I recall meeting with R’ Herschel Weber in Williamsburg in 1976 or 1977 seeking his assistance in launching our chapter and with the push from Rabbi Kaganoff and the brochos and support of Rav Schwab ZT”L, it became reality!

    Therefore, there is a precedent and from a Gadol, and there was no compromise of tznius and the care for women was extraordinary, with the additional sensitivity and understanding that a male EMT or paramedic simply cannot give. To say otherwise would be not reflect reality in my opinion.

    Rabbi Kaganoff at the time also published a kuntras on pertinent halachos which was also scoffed, and only years later did Hatzolah general catch on and do the same.

    In short, the “Yekkes” were leaders in many ways and they did and perhaps continue to take heat and were the target of scoffing, but it was ignored in short. Jokes aside, Washington Heights Hatzolah is extremely modest and in my time, we were not in the social loop of the remaining chapters around NYC but we were doing what we signed up to do, I dare say without fanfare.

    In short, whatever the case may be today, one cannot say this is “unprecedented” for that is simply not factual. The rabbonim today will have to decide but I hope someone looks at Washington Heights for an example, and possibly even contacts Rabbi Kaganoff for the Halachic background. The women were a major asset and anyone who argues simply is basing their comments on hearsay rather than factual data accumulated over many many years. The fact that Central Hatzalah decided to keep the female responders a secret for so long is another matter for another article perhaps.

    After years working as an EMT and paramedic in NYC, NJ, EMS and Hatzalah, I can only speak for myself but I witnessed the difference of having a frum woman on the scene, which I have found contributes significantly to the refuah.

    Perhaps [my opinion again], we are too quick to jump to conclusions and maybe we can accept that “new” or “different” is not always “wrong” or “bad”

    At least record permit history to be presented as it occurred and not attempt to re-write it.

    As for the skeptics, it is great and LONG overdue in citywide Hatzolah. Washington Heights proved this decades ago.

    Yechiel Spira
    EMT/P (retired)
    Formally Y-15
    Jerusalem

  3. RamatShilo says:

    I agree with Rabbi Spira 100%….as long as its done in a tznius way the end result can and will likely be a more “tzinus” hatzala…. woman can deal with woman issues… many people dont call hatzala with woman issues because they dont want their husbands friends coming on the call…

  4. truthsharer says:

    If you were really in Hatzolah you would also know that there are different branches in Hatzolah and they all have different rabbanim. Furthermore, you would also know that certain branches don’t even listen to their own rabbanim and just do what the dictator/coordinator decides.

  5. rebmoish says:

    Spira writes “Shortly after its inception, DUE TO DIFFICULTIES in providing daytime coverage, Rabbi Shimon Schwab ZT”L gave haskoma to permit married women to respond”. This was a special cercimstance!!!

  6. Health says:

    I’m an outsider, not a member, so let me put out the view of the people whom are for this intiative. (Even though I might not personally agree with it.) They definitely have valid points. The Shaila that was brought forth years ago was about women in general joining Hatzolah. This was negated. The idea now is simply to have women respond in childbirth situations. As far as who his Rabbonim are, they are the Rabbonim of New Square. Right now New Square has a program where they allow women to take care of the childbirth patients. The woman is in the back and the man drives. I’m don’t know if they are called in emergent situations. I also don’t know the logistics and if it is feasable to implement all the time in the greater NYC area. But definitely it should be brought up to the Rabbonim who are right now in charge of Hatzolah in NYC!

  7. zehava says:

    What a shock that there is another anti-Dov letter on YWN! What and why is your bias??? and this letter is ridiculous! I am confident that if the morah de’asrah of Hatzolah says not to do this Dov will buy into the decision. He was making comments on a radio program not making Hatzolah policy!

  8. wbauer@haddar.net says:

    why do you bring the Debertziner Rov ZATZAL, Rav Moshe Feinstein ZATZAL,who we cant ask?
    bring a living major Poskim.

    also if your L’Shaim Shmayim why don’t you sign your name?

  9. Letter Writer says:

    #4- “If you were really in Hatzolah you would also know that there are different branches in Hatzolah and they all have different rabbanim.”

    If YOU were areal member of Hatzolah, you would know that Central Hatzolah has a main board of Rabbonim who pasken all major issues such as this.

    #7- He was making comments on a radio program not making Hatzolah policy!

    Exactly. And I am making comments on a public website, just as Dov made public comments on a public radio station. Dov opened a horrible can of worms for Hatzolah. He crossed a line, and just as he said “it’s a no brainer”, I felt it’s a “no brainer” to call him out on it.

    #8- Hatzolah has a policy of not allowing the members to talk to the media, and this includes the president of Hatzolah who in my opinion was dead wrong for commenting to another source yesterday…

    Your a kofer batorah regarding your first statement. I think we shouldn’t pasken like the Rama any longer. or, throw the Teshuvos Chasam Sofer in the trash….heck, they are not alive any longer….

  10. Torahumada says:

    Dear Op-Ed writer: I am not from NYC nor a member of Hatzalah. Nor did I hear what Hikind had to say. But why is it so bad to revisit the issue of women working in Hatzalah. 35 years ago when Hatzalah was forming, they asked shailos and got answers. Why is it that we are to assume that nothing has changed since that time?
    Maybe allowing women would be beneficial. I am certain that there are situations where women would prefer if a woman was handling her medical care.

    Dov Hikind is a politician, his job is to start discussions that lead to results. That is exactly what he has done. Started a discussion. Now it is up to Hatzalah to come up with an answer.

    Also, not everything is done because of tzinius or a halachic reasoning. I know that some hatzolas when they are starting will only select certain types of people because they wish to ensure that they money they invest is not wasted.

  11. lakewoodbt says:

    When has Hikind been relevant he got lucky for coming around to the winning side of Turner but otherwise his % is slightly better than Friedlanders.

  12. Ctrl Alt Del says:

    I don’t understand. We can put Yom Kippur aside for instances of even theoretical pikuach nefesh, but tznius cannot be put aside for (halachicly defined) pikuach nefesh? A woman in labor IS pikuach nefesh. Priorities people, please. If the women in our community are comfortable with males taking care of them, great. No changes need be made. But you cant discount the proliferation of members has it so husbands friends are the ones showing up for intimate calls. So, simple solution. Have a few women on rotation for those calls. They are not so frequent nor are they usually imminent. I can’t see form a logistical point why this is so difficult. I also can’t see why this is so problematic in terms of halachah. I can drive to a call on Yom Kippur to help someone with chest pain but i can’t ride in the back of an ambulance with a frum woman who is taking crae of another frum woman in labor? Kal Vachomer anyone?

  13. nitpicker says:

    I found all the comments on the history of this issue, posted by people involved very interesting.
    but I agree with the Original writer,
    That Dov Hikind had no business voicing an opinion at all.

    When hatzaloh has a question, they know to whom to turn
    for an answer. or answers. there may be differences of opinion between the rabonnim, but until dov is invited to join their ranks, his opinion is not going to be considered.

  14. Ofcourse says:

    I listened to the program. What makes anyone think the female Hatzolah members would be mingling with the male Hatzolah members? I was under the impression that the women would only be attending to gynecology cases and obviously attend to women only. At most a male dispatcher would call them to attend to a case. What could be wrong with that?

  15. shmoel says:

    Make no mistake about it. This idea is being pushed by the radical feminist agenda that is in our midst as part of the erev rav.

  16. yungerman1 says:

    Do we know if Dov Hikind was aware of all the facts? I would suspect that if he was informed of the psak he would withdraw his comments.

    My beef is with the woman who is trying to start this. As per the story that I saw on another website, it appears she is proceeding without approval from Hatzolah and their Rabbonim. How does she intend to have women join Hatzolah without their approval.
    I’m sorry to say that this does not sound like a purely L’shem Shmayim issue for those women who affected, but rather a feminist ideology.

  17. thecommissioner says:

    I think we are missing the point over here. There is a feminist woman who has decided that its time for women to join Hatzalah. This Woman has no backing of rabbinic or medical professionals who back her thesis.

    It is just logistically impossible for there to be a proactive group of female responders.

    Anyone who has worked for any city EMS, knows of the situations that males and females put themselves through. Long hours alone, in compromising situations is not what Hatzalah needs.

    Should Hatzalah give each one of these proposed “Hatzalah woman a $3,000 set of equipment for those 50 calls a year? What about Shabbos, should a women be with her children, or should she be helping someone else?

    These are all factors that this feminist woman did not think through.

  18. akuperma says:

    However it raises an interesting question, regardless of whether halacha allow males to routinely attend to women giving birth (which in itself is a recent hiddush – until about 150 years ALL women were attended exclusively by female midwives, with a male surgeon called in only when needed to perform a ceasrean after the mother died), many women are uncomfortable with this. Indeed, many women uncomfortable with men poking around their bodies.

    So even if halacha permits Hatzaloh (and other male medical personnel) to poke around women’s bodies, it is quite understandable that women (and especially our women, who are far more into tzinius than most), would strongly prefer females to do the poking.

    The Rabbanim never said that it is good for Hatzaloh to poke around women, only that it was permitted. They also said nothing prohibiting having an emergency midwifery service involving women, only that Hatzaloh shouldn’t do it. So it is a “no brainer” that someone (Hatzaloh or someone else) should run an emergency service with female technicians, particularly pertaining to intimate matters that most women reasonably object to male involvement.

  19. a jew says:

    #12 Pikuch nefesh is doche Shabbos and Yom Kippur, but last I checked even Bizrayah darayos shfichas domim and avodah zorah have a status of yehareg v’al yavor. One may eat treif if it is a life saving measure, but one may not Drink kedem Yayin nesech (in it’s pure form) to save their life…
    As for Hatzolah
    Good luck Dov or anyone else dictating to them anything.
    FYI some of the greatest dispatchers in hatzolahs history were not of the male persuasion…

  20. Raphael Kaufman says:

    The O.P.’s position would have carried more weight if he’d have signed his name instead if hiding in anonymity. Personally, I have often thought that having female Hatzoloh EMTs would be useful and I have suggested it to Monsey Hatzoloh several years ago. If the O.P. cannot find it in good concience to work with a female EMT or work in an organization that has female EMTs, he should resign immediatly.

  21. seagul47 says:

    why do I remember an article in a “frum” publication dealing with some women EMT’s and in some Hatzola’s.

    The fact is that women feel more comfortable with women in an emergency.

    I seem to recall that when a man whom the woman knew came for the Hatzolo call, the woman then stopped going to his store because of her embarassment.

    It’s time to allow for women to help in Hatzolo. Why is it better that “tatty” can leave the house on Shabbos on a call and not “mammy.”

    The whole matter has to be re-thought. And (not having heard the broadcast) Dov Hilkind may have a point. and he is right in throwing it into the public domain for discussion.

  22. aries2756 says:

    There was a time in Staten Island where many of the Hatzolah members were women due to the fact that the men were not working in the neighborhood and were not available during the day. I don’t know what is going on there today.

  23. QuestionForYou says:

    According to Halacha, would it be allowed for an all-female Hatzalah team to attend a woman in labor in her home?

  24. ari-free says:

    The government should stay out of Hatzalah. There’s a reason why we use Hatzalah instead of the government EMS.

    Hikind has to remember that he is a politician and there is a well-founded fear then whenever a politician talks about changing the system, then it will have to be changed.

  25. ari-free says:

    Some quotes:
    “I don’t understand.”
    “Why is it better that “tatty” can leave the house on Shabbos on a call and not “mammy.””
    “Maybe allowing women would be beneficial.”
    “What could be wrong with that?”

    This is why we have daas Torah. Because the rabbis involved in making these decisions do understand and know the problems. They are responsible for their decision and random posters are not.

  26. tickle toe eitus says:

    This is being pushed by a feminist woman lawyer who has promoted herself against the wishes of her very own upstate community, where she is an oisvorf.

  27. yosse says:

    thecommissioner says:

    Should Hatzalah give each one of these proposed “Hatzalah woman a $3,000 set of equipment for those 50 calls a year? What about Shabbos, should a women be with her children, or should she be helping someone else?
    What about Shabbos, should a FATHER be with HIS children, or should HE be helping someone else?

  28. ari-free says:

    Maybe you think tatty should be home changing the diapers while mommy learns in the beis medrash all day with her chavrusa.

  29. EzratHashem says:

    If women were added to the Haztola responders, why wouldn’t there be put in place a protocol by Rabbonim regarding each potential problematic situation that may arise (yichud, etc)? Every EMS volunteer would know how they are expected to behave in each case. doesn’t that solve this problem?
    Truthfully, it is too bad how Hatzolah gets into machlokes so frequently over its own honor, I’ve seen it in a few locations.

  30. Sinaipres says:

    First and foremost these issues should be decided by Poskim and not by self claiming expert members, askonim, politicians etc.

    It is true that there were situations, were women were embarrassed to face certain male Hatzholoh members and even their wife after they were attended to in OB/GYN calls. However to claim that women prefer female professionals as a majority, is absolutely falls. While many women do prefer being treated by other females, the majority of women attend gynecologists that are male. This was published in AMA magazine last year. This is also true in a frum community. (For some reason there is a general feeling that the male doctors in this field are for some reason supposed to be more professional.) Just pay attention of how many women that you know or related to specifically went to a male doctor because he is operating out of a fancy Manhattan Hospital. In those cases quality of care came before the gender of the doctor. Out of those who picked a female doctor, many probably did so also because they felt that this particular doctor was better then others and gender was likely not the deciding factor. When one thinks of welfare if their child and themselves, the physician’s gender in not the top of the list.

    It is obvious that many who comment on this issue do not know or understand the logistical and Halachick difficulties with woman being in Hatzoloh. Firstly from my limited knowledge, I believe that it was the reason of Tznius, that the Rabbonan did not want women going as first responders to the calls. Let’s assume that a female EMT was a first responder, was able to stabilize the patient, carry out a patient on the stretcher with another member (who would have to be female as well I guess?), then they transport the patient to the hospital and return home with the ambulance driver who also should then be a female because of Ichud problem. So we need to make sure that the first responder, back up unit, and the ambulance driver, all be female. Unfortunately that is not possible logistically, nor is it necessary. And if the case becomes a high risk where a Paramedic is required, then we would look for a female Paramedic as well? Where do we stop?

    Even if there were women in Hatzoloh, no one could guarantee that only they respond to these calls. We don’t have enough members to cover calls during the day as is, what makes someone think that a woman can drop her houses with children and go on a call, especially if her husband is working, learning or davening at the time. So if we cannot guarantee the issue is dealt with, then what exactly is the point of this?

    Besides, those of you who understand a little about marriage would realize that it would cause more Shalom Bais problems. While our nashim Tzidkonios somehow tolerate absence of their husbands and carry the homes by themselves, our men would not be happy if their wives run out leaving them with children home alone, especially when it is time to give dinner, give baths and put them to sleep.

    We would need to call more Hatzoloh members to rescue the fathers.

  31. koachshtika says:

    Hikind is right. Sounds like a no brainer to me.

    Are there potential issues? Yes. Are there ways to work around those issues, yes.

    The article makes no point except that the author is really outraged.

    In Mitzrayim there were midwives, not midmen, who came when a woman was giving birth.

  32. a jew says:

    Hatzolah volenteers alredy give enough of themselvs and have enough Protocols between state, city, and their own area rules and regs, the last thing they need is some outsiders mixing in and making trouble, there is an old expressin if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
    Some of the most used and well known oby-gyns in oir communities are men. And yes some woman are uncomfortable with a neighbor delevering their baby, would an Irish or Italian FDNY emt be better?
    Ever hear of going to the hospital when contractions start?

  33. bklynmom says:

    The two emergency calls that we had were for female members (a visitor and child), it was totally inappropriate for the male Hatzalah workers to attend to them. It caused tremendous embarrassment and compromising care.

    Of course, women should be part of Hatzalah. BTW every hear of women whose children are not presently at home, or not working at a 24/7 career, or who are tzniuusdik, professional, knowledgable and willing to offer a few hours a week for this tremendous chesed. They should be available for FEMALE CALLS…

  34. tickle toe eitus says:

    What is the problem? Is Hatzalah been slow on calls? Do they need more members, and there is a shortage of males?

    No.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  35. flowers says:

    In the same way being a member isn’t for all men (most men in our community are not members), it isn’t for all women either. For many women, leaving their Shabbos table would be no big deal. For those that it is, well, they shouldn’t become EMTs.

    “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    Sorry, that’s your opinion. I don’t share it, and many others don’t either. I think it’s terrible that there isn’t another option for women who don’t make it to the hospital on time.

    Sure, it’s for the rabbonim to decide, but they should take into consideration the feelings of the women that go through the experience. And I am allowed to state my opinion.

    The fact that many women go to male OBGYN means nothing. For most of us (I use a women) who use a male, in our minds it’s very different going to a non religious or goy, and having a frum person do the job.

    Yes, it’s a no brainer. There should be a way to work out all the issues.

  36. Ferd says:

    The neighborhoods which have had women in the past have had a major issue, and that is THEY COULD NOT KEEP THEIR YAPPERS SHUT.

    There is serious confidential information on a Hatzolah call, and hamayvin yavin, our noshim tzidkaniyos have a major issue in this area.

    Is that enough of a reason?

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s enough of a reason….

  37. a jew says:

    oh no i’m finding myself on the same side on an issue as ferd?!

  38. apushatayid says:

    Is it such a “no brainer” that the majority (or even close to a majority) of frum women use a male ob/gyn? In reading this OP-ED as well as many (not all) of the replies, I started thinking of the women I know who use an ob/gyn. 14 out of 18 use a female (and 2 who use a male, do so because they are categorized as “high risk” and the males have a better reputation for high risk pregnancies).

    The pediatrician my children use, recently brought in a female PA for those girls who prefer a woman than a man. These are girls as young as 12-13 years old. I can only imagine how a woman twice or three times that age feels when a male she sees daily in the street tends to her in a most private manner.

    I am familiar with a woman who went into labor and REFUSED to let her family call hatzalah. She specifically said she didnt want thee men from the block answering the call. She called a hispanic taxi driver and he sped her to the hospital.

    Is it that crazy a notion? No. Did Dov Hikind issue a psak who knows, I dont listen to his show and wont make snap judgements about him based on heresay. does Hatzala have an administrative body as well as poskim they address questions to? Surely the answer is yes. If this is so important an issue, people can call Hatzala and request they implement this in a way that is consistent with any psak they receive.

  39. happiest says:

    I have a question. What about men and women working together in this situation? Especially when it can turn into being very untzniusdik, like the women bending down to do something and things like that? How many men would be willing to work with a women on a call? I doubt very many!

  40. apushatayid says:

    Is it any more tzniusdik when a man is “bending down to do something and things like that”? There are refined ways to do things for both men and women alike.

  41. mark levin says:

    Perhaps MISTER Hikind didn’t learn from the drubbing his co-democrat Weprin took in the recent election by going against halocha & gedolai yisroel. Time to get rid of him too!

  42. happiest says:

    Uh, ya actually it is more tzniusdik for a male to do that apushatayid. It’s the male that has the issue (usually) of being attracted to the female and we know this by seeing all the many more hilchos tznius there is for the female because of the males temptations.
    Also, is it ok for a man and women to work so closely here? And if it is “untznius” for a hatzala member to work on a female now, then why is it ok to go to a male dr? I think it’s the same thing- pikuach nefesh!

  43. John Doe says:

    I’m happy to see that others voiced half my opinion as far as ladies choosing male doctors, even shomer shabbos OB docs that may be a neighbor.
    Secondly, as a “many year” active Hatzolah member, I could begin by saying that anybody not in Hatzolah, can not even voice an opinion on this matter. (1) an all female crew is stam not nogea. They are not carrying down a pt from the 3rd floor. If the ladies would only go to OB calls, they would have basically zero experience in dealing with any issue that would arise. I would hope that nobody wants inexperienced personel treating them, in a time of crisis L”A.
    (2) To have one female just to do the actual delivery, (who would need help from other crew members….) anyone who has been in that situation could very well testify, that it would cause way bigger problems than from anyone delivering a frum lady.
    Speaking from experience of having the zchus to deliver many many babies, the last thing on anyone’s mind at the time is any uncomfotable feelings. If one in a thousand will avoid seeing a certain man at a later date because he delivered her, then so be it.
    One point of interest, is that I’ve been on such calls with midwives and Doctors that come near to freaking out. Not to knock anyone or say that anybody is not capable, the fact of the matter is that those that deal with all types of emergencies on a regular basis, are geared up emotionally to deal with it. Even professionals that usually work in a nice hospital setting, have a hard time with “certain” situations.

  44. happiest says:

    John Doe, I am not on hatzala but I hear everything you said. Women do not belong on hatzala! I think anyone that thinks they do, is just making a big deal outta womans lib. Why rock the boat? Hatzala is doing perfectly well, b”H. They are still saving lives etc, why mess things up now?

  45. deiyezooger says:

    Why would YWN print an unsigned Op-Ed?

    Moderators Note: Why would YWN print your anonymous comment?

  46. Ctrl Alt Del says:

    19, please do more research about yehorag you are not understanding the concept correctly and the RaMBaM totally disagrees with what I think your saying. In any case, can you please point out where in any possible call that arayos would come into play. Certainly there is no avodah zara nor shefichat damim.

  47. shmoel says:

    Why are we giving any credence to this feminist push? Dov Hikind has zero influence over Hatzalah and so does that upstate feminist trouble-making woman who is advancing this (along with her other tarfus).

  48. REALIST says:

    deiyezooger:
    Consider this.
    The writer signs his name, the YWN mods know who it is, and honor the writer’s request to sign publicly as such.
    Maybe?

  49. REALIST says:

    If this hair-brained scheme were to come to fruition, and if my wife was in labor and needed the services of HVAC, I would never ask for the female member. I don’t care what the patient asked for! At that time, I’M the one thinking clearly!

  50. obgyn says:

    To all those who would think woman should be on Hatzolah ( for whatever reasons) read carefully so there’s no misunderstanding. Open your own organization and people’s who would like a woman treat them can call you. ( keep YWN posted so they can update all there readers on your progress) Hatzolah is a private organization not a government agency. There is no public vote. Further more no one ask you what you think nor does anyone really care. if you don’t like it refer to my idea and open a new EMS agency staff by woman or call 911.

  51. H.P.O. says:

    #47 well said. Thank you I hope people take your advice.

  52. Rosh limbogh says:

    I’m opening an organisation for woman hatztolah the new name is ‘EMT’ and the # is 911 for sponsors call dov hikind asap

  53. H.P.O. says:

    I was agreeing with post #50 “obgyn. Sorry for the confusion

  54. Peacemaker says:

    When you call 911 for help with an emergency birth, you CANNOT ask 911 to send a woman. You can get a man whether you like it or not.

  55. Peacemaker says:

    And like several posters pointed out, most women prefer a man in any event.

  56. tsvika55 says:

    Anyone who has been/is a member of Hatzoloh understands that the types of bonds that are formed between human beings during the times of high stress are extremely strong and can lead to undesirable actions.
    R. Schwab in his great wisdom made his desision based on a real NEED for members to take calls during the day and not political correctness.
    T.Z. (Ex Y-21)

  57. MonseyFireFighter says:

    This is normally a very respectable forum but after reading some the hate that has been written I am wondering if I belong to a different religion than some of you. First let me provide testimony that this is NOT a new idea. I had the honor and privilege of spending some time a while back with Hershel Weber in Williamsburg who was one of the founding members of Hatzalah and he told me that it was always a goal of his to form a women’s squad or division called Hatzeeloo. Next, as a trained paramedic having served with women the comments coming from this board and those quoted from Mr. Jacobs are hateful, unfounded, ignorant and just plain discriminatory. Allow me to also suggest that this now well publicized practice of overt discrimination is illegal and could in theory affect any funding subsidies received from Federal, state and local governments as there is no lawful basis for it – I would posit that even given cultural sensitivities you would be hard pressed to show an inability for reasonable accommodation. Regarding physical qualifications, New York State already has these in place – 2 people together must be able to lift and carry 250 pounds. I dare say that I have seen more than my fare share of MALE Hatzalah members who were much slighter in build and strength than some very capable women I know. Unless Hatzalah is requiring that it’s members exceed this requirement (which I doubt) the only criteria allowed would be to test all applicants like many other ambulance corps currently do. They pass – case is closed. Next, have you conducted official research and gathered statistics that women can not get out of the house as quick as men? Seriously? At the end of the day this will come down to adequately serving ALL of the community. We already have male and female healthcare providers (although I am unable to give ONE example of a MALE midwife). Perhaps this comes down to fear of women being theoretically able to run for board positions if accepted into membership. I don’t know. What I do know is that this position is irrational, untenable and illegal. Not to mention the question which if there ARE qualified same gender female providers available where does that leave the need to have a MALE perform the same task.
    Please not I have not masked my name in this discussion unlike some of the haters.

    Signed Stan Cohen – Wesley Hills, NY

  58. apushatayid says:

    It should be pointed out that there ARE frum women who do NOT call hatzalah when they are in labor because they don’t want the men who sit and eat kugel with their husband in shul delivering them. This is not a knock against hatzalah or any of its members. It is a fact, no matter what the OP ED writer or any hatzala member believes. Hopefully nobody ever has to call hatzala for anything, ever.

    And Mr Happiest, you missed my point entirely, but that’s ok.

  59. Simchadig says:

    There are already women on the New Square Hatzolah, so I don’t understand what all the shock and outrage is about. As a frum woman, I would much prefer to have a female first responder for a labor/delivery emergency. The logistics need to be worked out, but it’s completely do-able, and I think it’s a great idea to protect tznius. Also, Dov Hikind and Ruchie Freier are not going against Daas Torah. Ruchie Freier has been consulting with Rabbonim (and Rebbetzins) at every step, and Dov Hikind was simply informing people of her work. Much thanks to both of them!

  60. Peacemaker says:

    Hatzalah’s Daas Torah has spoken. Hatzalah’s Poskim have assered women serving. Period. End of discussion.

    Anyone attacking Hatzalah for this is attacking Daas Torah, and by extension attacking the Torah itself.

  61. Rosh limbogh says:

    This liberal stan Cohn is talking like an self hating Jew and a hater to hatzolah. Woman don’t belong in hatzolah period. Why? BECAUSE there rabbunim said so!!! Take it or leve it stan. Good night sleep tight

  62. mjhmjh18 says:

    yechiel spira: your comments were well taken but you left out the exact psak that Rabbi Schwab ztl wrote. He stated “that this psak of allowing women to join Hatzalah in Washington Htz was a psak for that time and place ONLY” because there were not enough men to cover the day shift. He also stated that no Halacha should be learned from this psak for future use. so if you are a true talmid of his, contact the current coordinators and they will send you a copy of the psak and then you should apologize for quoting a Gadol with partial facts. And part of his psak was that men & women could not be on a call at the same time. I know you personally and remember you, you are a ben Torah and I am sure you will correct your statements. K’siva V’chasima Tova.

  63. John Doe says:

    Attention Stan Cohen. In “our” religion, we do what the Torah tells us, along with the Psak of Gedolim and Poskim. Whether you know women whom you think are capabale of carrying a pt is totaly irrelevent.
    As I’m sure you, along with all “in the field” know that standard procedure when carrying a pt down the steps, your other crew member is supposed to walk behind you and grab your belt, to make sure you don’t miss a step and brake your head. From your comments you almost come across wishing that your co-crew member doing the carrying was a female with you behind her. Of course only because it’s legally correct. GIMME A BREAK!!!

  64. shmoel says:

    Rav Schwab zt’l ONLY allowed it specifically because there was a shortage of men during the daytime in WH. And he ONLY allowed it while it was not possible to get men. And he added additional restrictions. And he said it was a temporary exemption that should not be a guide.

  65. mjhmjh18 says:

    If Mrs Frier has rabonim she is consulting with, why don’t they contact the vaad of hatzolah and discuss it This should not be done on a radio program and cause hatzolah difficulties. The vaad of hatzolah are the poskim hador who paskin hatzolah shaalos for over 25 years. I am sure if the rabonim she spoke to met with the vaad of hatzolah they would understand the harm she is causing. If she continues with Dov Hikind lives could be lost. Let her act like a frum woman should.

  66. Peacemaker says:

    Frier doesn’t contact anyone when she gets on her high horse with these anti-Torah initiatives such as this one.

  67. Health says:

    Peacemaker says: -”Hatzalah’s Daas Torah has spoken. Hatzalah’s Poskim have assered women serving. Period. End of discussion.”

    This Shalia was never presented to them. It’s not the same Shaila as it was years ago and you know it! The Rabbonim in New Square aren’t going against Daas Torah!

  68. flowers says:

    John doe: one in a thousand is around 1 in arround 20 yrs. you are clueless. i would say that more than 80% of those delivered by hatzlacha members, while grateful to the members, have a hard time dealing with it, most likely more at the memory after than at the time itself. and you make it seem that a hatzalah member is better equiped to deal with childbirth than a midwife or doctor which is really nonsense. as for women not getting enough experience, there are many frum women in bp who are emts. i am sure they are doing something with this knowledge. perhaps working in hospitals?

  69. flowers says:

    furthermore, john doe, though i didnt agree with what u said in that post of yours, i was impressed with it. however, your next post took away all your credibility in my eyes. it was pretty mean spirited to say that stan cohen seems to wish to hang on to a female, when nowhere in his post implies that, and that u can assume it from his post, shows what goes on in YOUR mind, not his.

  70. Peacemaker says:

    Tznius concerns are more paramount and override gender preferences. Hatzalah is fully staffed and doesn’t need any women.

    Gedolei HaDor have spoken and this issue has long been resolved by Hatzalah’s poskim.

    CASE CLOSED.

  71. lonestar says:

    As an EMT, I’ve dealt with OB/GYN calls, and there’s something that you need to realize. When a woman is in labor, she can barely remember her name, let alone care if the person helping her is a male or female. In response to the complaints of no tznius, pretend for a second that Hatzolah didn’t exist. Would you call 911 and make a request? They’d laugh and hang up on you. At least with Hatzolah, you get an extremely fast response, and caring members. This whole thing is probably because some feminist is pressuring Hikind, and he gave into the pressure. It’s a stupid request/demand of Hikind to make of Hatzolah, and he should rescind it.

  72. shmoel says:

    911 doesn’t prove female responders on request, and nor should Hatzalah.

    This feminst trouble-making upstate lawyer notwithstanding. This isn’t the first time she’s attacked rabbonim shlit”a.

  73. popa_bar_abba says:

    I didn’t hear the show, but this is disturbing.

  74. ConcernedMom says:

    I am not going into the debate if the idea is good or bad, if it is practical, if it is safe and efficient in our community, but I will point out that in the Jewish Community, if you have an issue you go to the Community Leaders and/or Rabonim.

    And if you make a “background check” on this particular individual, she is very controversial and will do everything by any means to become popular , even writing articles about negative Jewish issues that need improvement, in the most anti-Semite upstate newspaper http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100716/OPINION/7160311 and posted at another Jewish blog.

    She is very close to the Yoel Roth/Marash (Heichal Hakodesh) people and she instigated a Bochur from that Yeshiva to “divorce” his parent in COURT, due to the fact that his parents wouldn’t allow him to go to Yoel Roth’s yeshiva I mean, Club. Did she ask Rabanim if she should go to COURT?

    Did she consult with Rabonim the ramification of her ideas?

    Doesn’t she thinks that “Women in Hatzolah” is an issue that is being discussed by Hatzolah for the last 35 years? This debate is no news, but it is Hatzolah’s management and Rabonim that will make the final decision?

    And a note to my friends. I am an excellent candidate to use Hatzolah “services”. I go to the Hospital very early and many many times for no good reason. At the first sign, just go to the hospital and leave the laundry and cooking to your husband… Unless you don’t mind your husband’s friend to come to the rescue.

  75. ywn lost a fan says:

    well shame on YWN for posting this especially as news not as an individual’s opinion

    Moderators Note: Perhaps you failed to notice the following:
    #1- The headline begins with the words “op-ed”.
    #2- The YWN logo clearly says “News Editorial”
    #3- At the bottom it says: “NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.”
    #4- At the very bottom it says: “DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE POSTED ON YWN? SEND IT TO US FOR REVIEW http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/contact.php

    Now….what were you saying?

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