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Haredi woman judge saves flight passenger

The first American haredi judge, Rachel (Ruchi) Freier, used her medical skills and took care of a passenger in distress during a Lufthansa flight from Budapest to Frankfurt.

The newspaper Israel Hayom reported that Freier received a letter of thanks following the incident from Lufthansa Airlines Spokeswomen Ana Becker and Sarah Schindler.

The two said the plane’s crew praised the judge for her activities. “They told us how you administered medical treatment to a passenger,” they noted.

“We wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You very much helped the sick traveler, and we were very happy that you were on the flight. As a token of our appreciation, we will give you a flight voucher of 150 Euro; it will be a privilege to host you again on board our company’s aircraft in the future.”

Before she began her judicial career, Freier, who is considered accepted by the haredi community in her neighborhood, founded a medical rescue organization called Ezrat Nashim.She decided to establish an independent organization for women after she was disallowed to volunteer in a haredi rescue organization in which only men are members.

Hasids and other ultra-Orthodox groups together make up only 6 percent of America’s estimated 5.3 million adult Jews, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study.

Dating to 18th-century Eastern Europe, Hasidism combines stringent adherence to Jewish law and a joyful belief in mysticism. Followers often speak Yiddish, wear traditional dress including beards and sidelocks for men and wigs for married women, and separate men and women in contexts ranging from buses to classrooms.

Header: Rachel Freier in her Borough Park law office with, from left to right, nephew Shmuel Freier, husband David Freier and son Mayer Freier. (Andrew Katz/JTA)