Last Updated on December 13, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Ezras Nashim provides emergency medical care for the Orthodox Jewish community, with a crew of women EMTs, so that women can focus on their health without worrying about their modesty or dignity. In March 2022, the Homes for Heroes Foundation presented a $10,000 grant to the Ezras Nashim. This grant is part of the Homes for Heroes Foundation’s circle of giving, providing assistance for heroes in dire need across the country.
Homes for Heroes Outreach Coordinator, Jay Flynn, talks to Leah Levine, Chief Operating Officer for Ezras Nashim and presented her with a $10,000 Foundation Check.
You can watch the full interview here or read a summarized Q&A of the interview below.
Q: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in general are facing many new challenges and our EMT heroes are on the front lines. So, let’s take a second to talk about Ezras Nashim and what prompted its launch?
A: For many years women in our community were not receiving pre-hospital emergency medical treatment that they needed because of the cultural reality of the Orthodox Jewish community. The local volunteer ambulance services that exist throughout the Orthodox Jewish communities in the nation only accept men as responders. Many women who are treated by the well-intentioned male EMS service during vulnerable emergencies, such as emergency birth or falling in the shower, experienced embarrassment and lingering trauma.
Many women actually delayed calling for help or didn’t even call for help because they were so nervous about being exposed and embarrassed. All of this could have been avoided had a female EMT been dispatched. Given that the demand was quite clear and many women came forward expressing their discomfort we decided to move forward in a positive manner to meet the needs of our community. And in 2014, Ezras Nashim was born.
Q: Since 2014, how has Ezras Nashim changed or evolved?
A: Our greatest and most exciting change (or rather advancement) occurred at the end of 2020 when we won our ambulance license. That was a journey of many, many years and so exciting that we won the license because up until then we were a BLSFR (Basic Life Support First Responder) which is a basic life support agency. That means we acted as first responders, but we were not able to transport. Therefore, we had to rely on a mutual aid agreement with FDNY to help us transport the patients to the hospital in their (FDNY) ambulance. Now we’re a VAS (Volunteer Ambulance Service) and we have our own state-of-the-art beautiful purple ambulance to provide the full service, first response to transport, with our all-female crew.
Q: In addition to the incredible work you are doing as a volunteer ambulance service, what other programs do you offer?
A: One major program we offer is our home visit program. It is an incredible program. Not only does Ezras respond to emergencies, but we prevent them as well. Our Homevisit Program is a program that entails weekly visits to elderly women and homebound in the community who require continuous monitoring to prevent emergency complications. The service is also available for those with special needs and post operative patients.
Many patients in this program are holocaust survivors and we’re so grateful that we can be there for them, to help them. The family members always reach out to thank us and tell us that these visits are not only the highlight of our patients week, but they are extremely effective at preventing emergencies. You know when EMTs come to their homes, check their vitals, make sure everything’s fine, and if they see something’s going wrong we tell the families. We make sure they know they will get the help they need. It really has been very effective in preventing emergencies.
Another thing that we started to offer is we teach CPR and some basic first aid to the community. We have CPR fairs a few times a year, where we have mothers and children can learn CPR for adults, children and babies.
Q: How will the Homes for Heroes Foundation grant be used to support the EMT heroes of Ezras Nashim?
A: We will use this grant to help with the cost of ongoing training for our current EMTs and arranging subsidized EMT courses for women looking to become EMTs.
Q: Tell us how our audience can get involved in supporting your mission and where they can go to learn more about Ezras Nashim?
A: They can visit Ezras Nashim online where you can read more about us, you can donate, or you could fill out a volunteer form and let us know how you can help.
Ezras Nashim’s aim is to branch out and expand their network of female EMTs to Orthodox Jewish communities worldwide, so when fellow sisters choose to be treated by a female, there will be a volunteer nearby ready to use their EMT skills — with no concern of their modesty or dignity being compromised.
Please take a moment to learn more about the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the grants it provides nonprofit organizations who help heroes in need, or simply to make a donation.