EMT trainee Adina Sash, 34, carries an Ezras Nashim donations piggy bank around Borough Park in Brooklyn, right past the competing all-male EMTs' Hatzolah ambulance on December 06, 2020. Ezrash Nashim is the first all-female EMT corps aimed at servicing Orthodox Jewish communities of women.
On the importance of Ezras Nashim, Sash says, “When you have a community that filters education and access to information, especially about a woman’s agency over her body, then it becomes even more important to equip those very women with the choice of where to turn in an emergency. Especially if the emergency is relevant to her reproductive system, having to confide in males in the community is tricky. Whereas women can help other women navigate those issues better.”
In addition to volunteering as a nurse for Ezras Nashim, in 2019 Sash ran for City Council in Brooklyn's 45th district as an Orthodox Jewish woman -- in a community that expects women to adhere to entirely different standards than male candidates, such as never showing their face in community newspaper ads, based on a religious tradition that directs men to shield their eyes from potentially improper images of women -- and says she considers herself a feminist. "There needs to be more acceptance for women getting education in the Orthodox community, and the community is split on this. There is a 'If it’s not broken, don’t fix it' mentality because [all-male competing EMT organization] Hatzolah already exists, but there are others who understand inclusion of women leads to better care overall." On her motivations to run for office, to which she says she faced a lot of opposition from the community, she says: "Making girls in the community aware that in addition to starting a family, there is importance to being part of the political process, challenges the narrative that it’s a mans job to run for office."
(Photo by: Yana Paskova for The New York Times/the National Geographic Society)