Outlier judicial candidate Rachel “Ruchie’ Freier, who will face off in September with Mordy Avigdor in the race for a Civil Court judgeship in Brooklyn's Fifth Judicial District, is about to find out.
The politically-connected Avigdor has successfully argued a case before the Supreme Court, worked for several big non-profits, and staffed for Congressional Representative Anthony Weiner and Congressional Representative Yvette Clarke.
Avigdor's supporters see Freier as a rebel who has needlessly provoked the male-dominated hierarchy by forming the all-female volunteer Ezras Nashim ambulance company, rival of all-male volunteer ambulance service Hatzalah, the "crown jewel" of the Hasidic community.
Freier's Ezras Nashim has both earned her the respect of the orthodox community and angered the politically-connected Hatzalah, making Freier's race against Avigdor this fall an uphill battle.
Avigdor is said to have the backing of City Council Member David Greenfield and State Senator Simcha Felder. He will also likely have the endorsement of Assembly Member Dov Hikind, who fears pushback by the Satmar sect if he backs Freier.
Freier, who attended law school part-time and passed the bar exam while parenting her six children, credits her supportive parents, who are proud of her accomplishments, for her self-determination.
This isn't the first time Freier, a real estate lawyer, has taken on the orthodox establishment. She also helped found B’Derech, an alternative yeshiva for young orthodox men who aren't making it in the traditional system that provides an alternative curriculum, including GED and vocational programming.
Although the male-cominated orthodox community eventually embraced B'Derech, Freier's Ezras Nashim, established six years ago to provide an alternative ambulance service for Orthodox women who prefer not to receive gynecological or obstetrical services from men, still faces male hostility.
Freier doesn't see herself as a rebel so much as a problem-solver working within the confines of her faith to make things happen for her community. Orthodox women in Borough Park had been trying to create female ambulance service for 30 years before Ezras Nashim, she said. Although warned by the men not to get involved, Freier and her mother persisted, eventually building a cadre of women volunteers.
By solving longstanding problems within her community, Freier has built a following among orthodox women. One admirer, Rachel Mayer, called her "an impact person": a woman who, in addition to raising her children and making a living, has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. To have a woman like that as a judge, Mayer said, is something the people would want.
The article from Kings County Politics.