May 18, 2024
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Judge Ruchie Freier Tells Her Story in Elizabeth

Things don’t happen by themselves. But if you asked Ruchie Freier, she affirms that both the believable and the unbelievable are in the hands of Hashem.

On her “speaking tour” she has reached out to multiple communities, speaking most recently at Bruriah High School in Elizabeth. The Honorable Judge Ruchie Freier exuded infectious energy, optimism and determination. Her story was neither a series of lucky breaks nor magical in its telling. She wove a tapestry of how ordinary people accomplish the extraordinary by their vision, efforts and the encouragement of their support system. And the will of Hashem.

A member of the Bobover Chassidic enclave in Boro Park, Freier was elected to the King’s County bench last year. She is also the founder of an all-women’s ambulance corps. She has been speaking to women about leadership ever since, in many communities. Freier was clear and strong in her advice to parents: “Encourage your children; believe in them,” a paradigm she attributed to and adopted from her own parents and grandparents. Her tale emphasized that the impact of this parenting model breeds the self-confidence, self-esteem and success in Torah values that extends to all of life’s challenges. Her decision to undertake the formidable tasks of college followed immediately by law school at the age of 30, with a family of six children in tow, was nearly unfathomable.

Judge Freier was a careful understudy of the inspiring life of Sarah Schenirer and her burning quest to educate Jewish girls in Europe. She was emphatic in describing not just Schenirer’s success, but her back story replete with obstacles and difficulties. Coupled with the idea that encouragement and determination go a long way is the notion that they actually create the essential bedrock for principles and practices that eventually blossom into greatness.

Once Judge Freier decided on her future path, she never looked back. Admittedly, Freier intimated, some things had to take a back seat to her family and her education. But instead of being obstacles, they became the wellsprings of scaling her challenges for the sake of the ultimate outcome. She described making a deal with Hashem, pledging the success of Hashem’s support to using her position for the betterment of humanity. Judgeship in a criminal arraignment court provides that opportunity many times a day. Directorship and participation in Ezras Nashim provide it on a continual basis.

The story of Freier’s rise to judgeship, dovetailed by her stepping up to become the executive director of the Ezras Nashim women’s Hatzalah corps, were both amazing and a natural progression. Her early experience in the domain of law practice was a shocking teacher to this chasidic wife and mother from Brooklyn, providing a monumental challenge to the Torah values she embraces. The pressure of professional and social politics in the typical workplace were pervasive: shaking hands with men, the flagrant and frequent use of profanity, and the expectation of contemporary women’s business attire—to name just a few. Judge Freier was clear on this topic: “Never compromise your religious values.” Whatever they are, hang on to those values and ask Hashem to help find a way. This outlook portrays a clear and powerful message to colleagues, to your boss (if you have one) and your customers and clients.

Megyn Kelly, the American journalist, political commentator and former corporate defense attorney, was a news anchor at Fox News and a talk show host with NBC News. She was popular and attractive. And she showed up to interview the Honorable chasidic Bais Yaakov Judge Rachel Freier in a white long-sleeved turtleneck top and a dark skirt with a hemline below the knees. Why? Because Ruchie Freier knows that her chasidic family, neighbors and friends will watch the interview, and she wants—in deference to the chasidic tradition she holds dear—to minimize their exposure to the revealing style of dress frequented by this nationally respected media personality. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the chasidic principles of personal attire, her commitment is resolute. She felt strongly about this issue and made her concerns—not demands—known, and one of the most prominent international journalists honored Freier’s preference.

“Believe in yourself and your potential.” Ruchie Freier’s message is loud and strong and clear. And universal: not just for girls and women.

When Ruchie Freier learned that the Skverer Rebbe endorsed and promoted the idea of a women’s Hatzalah corps, it strengthened her resolve to plan big for Ezras Nashim. Unofficially, many male members of the original Hatzalah corps helped as well. Not everyone was aligned with the early leadership decision to exclude women from Hatzalah volunteer services, or of relegating women to the role of dispatcher.

The recent documentary about Ezras Nashim, “93Queen,” has launched a great deal of global attention to this essential cause. While Ezras Nashim functions seamlessly within the limits of its resources, they still do not have a dedicated emergency transport vehicle. The Honorable Ruchie Freier, Esq, JD, is not only a licensed EMT but she has further scaled the professional ladder to become a paramedic. Through her efforts, “93Queen” has become Ezras Nashim’s radio call sign with the FDNY!

By Ellie Wolf

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