By Elana Luban
Ezras Nashim is a by-women-for-women emergency response service that provides top-rate emergency medical care, which will soon be coming to Stern College. The movement, led by Judge Ruchie Freier, has already taken Brooklyn by force, serving Borough Park and expanding to areas like Midtown Manhattan and the Five Towns.
A documentary film about Ezras Nashim, 93QUEEN (which is the call name used by 911 to identify Ezras Nashim over the the medical radio), was released in July of 2018, outlines all the struggles involved in getting Ezras Nashim off the ground. To give some scope on the popularity of the film, its critical reviews include: “The upshot is heartening, even inspiring” (The New York Times); “Both surprising and deeply satisfying… [Eiselt, the director] brings an instinctive yet clear-eyed sympathy for these women’s remarkable story” (Los Angeles Times); and “Forget Supergirl and Wonder Woman. To see a real female superhero in action, check out Paula Eiselt’s documentary” (The Hollywood Reporter).
There are several reasons why this EMT service is needed on the Beren Campus. First, studies show that those in need of emergency services benefit most when the care is provided by someone similar to them, demographically and gender-wise. Second, 911 has a ten-minute response time in this part of Midtown, but an on-campus EMT service could provide first response care until an ambulance arrives. Hatzolah, too, has a center in the Diamond District, but its hours are limited to just daytime. At night, the closest Hatzolah center is in the Upper West Side.
Emergencies occur on the Stern College campus approximately twice a week, at all hours of the day and night. Not only would a close-to-home EMT service fill a sore need, but it would give EMT-trained students the empowering, fulfilling opportunity of providing high-quality care to their peers.
The care will be 24/7, which means that just like in any other EMT service, volunteers will sleep with radios on them in case of any emergency. The volunteers will have to be committed, but so far there have been enough EMT-trained students willing and eager to volunteer, or untrained students willing to dispatch (being on call, and transferring emergency calls to the EMTs themselves so they can respond).
Ailin Elyasi (SCW ’20), the Coordinator for Stern’s Ezras Nashim, became involved with the movement during the summer of 2018, after becoming Judge Frier’s legal intern. At the time, she did not predict that the project would reach Stern. Only later that summer did she and Judge Freier agree that the initiative would be a valuable service to initiate at Stern College.
“We have a group of women who are passionate and dedicated to making this endeavor successful, and the YU administration has been incredibly helpful,” said Elyasi. “Ezras Nashim should be starting soon, and we hope our services will provide added comfort and modesty to the ladies of Stern.” After all, she explained, that’s what the mission, the heart and soul, of Ezras Nashim is all about: empowering women to provide care and save lives on the same level as an emergency response service like Hatzolah.
Dr. Chaim Nissel, YU’s Dean of Students, has been instrumental throughout the process of founding an Ezras Nashim branch at Stern. “I am thrilled to see Ezras Nashim coming to serve the students and staff on the Beren Campus, and am confident that the availability of 24/7 on-campus first responders will be an asset to the Beren Campus,” Dr. Nissel said of the initiative.
“When I first heard about the idea of bringing it to Stern I was so excited — volunteering for EMS in high school always left me with such a feeling of importance and higher purpose,” said Chani Dorfman (SCW ’23), Assistant Medical Coordinator of Ezras Nashim’s Stern division. “Helping others and doing chesed is so important in our day-to-day lives; I am very honored to be part of Ezras Nashim. It already feels like a second family to me.”