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Orthodox Jewish Community's All-Women EMS Service Ezras Nashim Finally Gets First Ambulance

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some call it controversial, others call it a life saver.

In time for the onset of a second wave of the coronavirus, an all-women's EMS service in Brooklyn is finally getting an ambulance after overcoming naysayers in the city who tried to prevent it from happening.

As CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported, 4-month-old Sarah Richter sleeps peacefully, even in the pouring rain.

"She's a miracle. They are a miracle," her mother, Chani Richter, told Rozner.

Richter was talking about the organization Ezras Nashim, which helped deliver her baby at home.

"She came too fast, I had no labor, so I called Ezras Nashim, because they were on my speed dial," she said. "In two minutes flat, they turned my bathroom into a hospital room."

Then, 911 had to be called to take the mother and baby to a hospital, and multiple first responders arrived.

Richter only wishes then that the group had the $100,000 ambulance that just arrived.  Donations helped purchase the ambulance and a $50,000 stretcher.


There was a need, some say, because in the Orthodox Jewish community, modesty is a fundamental value. Men and women who are not married do not touch each other.

For 50 years, the male volunteer corps Hatzoloh has served the community, but it does not accept female paramedics.

"In an emergency situation, and I'm sitting there undressed or I need to-- whatever it is, I don't want a man there. No, I don't feel comfortable with that," said Richter. "That's not my choice."

Ezras Nashim, an all-women's EMS service in Brooklyn, has finally gotten an ambulance after overcoming naysayers who tried to prevent it from happening. (Credit: Simon Gifter)

After years of fighting for an ambulance so it could speed up response times, the state Department of Health finally gave Ezras Nashim the approval in August -- months after the application was rejected by a city committee over concerns patients would be confused who to call.

"It's like a dream. I feel like I'm dreaming, it's wonderful," volunteer Sarah Husney told Rozner.

"We finally grew from such a small group to something so big, you know, to have our first ambulance on the streets," volunteer Emanual Rabaev added. "It got busier."

The group is finalizing paperwork that state inspectors need before coming out to give the ambulance the OK. The hope is to have it up and running and serving the community in the next several weeks.

The organization is also in the process of filling the ambulance with specific supplies and equipment required by the state.

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