Hatzalah does not hire women. So the original Chevra Hatzalah organization in New York is not too keen on a fellow organization located in Palm Beach, Florida for doing so. As such, Chevra Hatzalah is suing Hatzalah of Palm Beach and Hatzalah of South Florida reports the NY Post.
Hatzalah means “save” or “rescue” in Hebrew – as in coming to save someone’s life. But who will save Hatzalah from itself?
An organization that is dedicated to saving lives, to rescuing people from horrible accidents like car crashes, or even school shootings and getting them to the hospital in time to save their lives does not want all the help that it could get. For some reason, it’s better to let people die than to let a woman save their life. And it is also not enough to maintain such a policy for your own branch – you must prohibit anyone using the name Hatzalah from letting women save lives.
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Chevra Hatzalah is manned by an army of trained volunteers. The organization dates back to the 1960s in Brooklyn and has spread to ten U.S. states as well as internationally to Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Ukraine.
And it is also operated by orthodox Jews who adhere to the strict tenets of Jewish law. As such, they do not believe that women should serve as EMTs.
Isaac Hersh brought Hatzalah to Palm Beach in the fall of 2021. At the time he explained to the local CBS News affiliate, “The most important value in Judaism is saving lives and when every minute and second counts, we want to be there to help and make that happen.” He also said at the time that Hatzalah of Palm Beach would bridge the gap in communities until Fire Rescue crews can arrive at the scene and take patients to the hospital.
But the possibility of a dispute with the New York mother branch began last fall. At the time Chevra Hatzolah complained that Hersh had not obtained the proper authorization from a local rabbinical authority. Also, Chera Hatzalah maintains that it did not authorize the use of its name in establishing the Florida branches.
In November, Yeshiva World News reported that Chevra Hazalah and its senior Rabbi, Dovid Cohen Shlita, met with the orthodox rabbinical committee of Boca in Florida to express their concerns about the new local group and that the rabbis agreed on the need to shut it down. But the leadership of Hatzalah Palm Beach reportedly ignored the local rabbi’s edict.
So now the lawsuit which alleges that Isaac Hersh personally infringed upon and counterfeited Chevra Hazalah and its registered service marks.
Hersh told the NY Post that for NY allowing women to serve as EMTs is “a highly controversial move in the eyes of Chevra Hatzalah, who has a strict policy of orthodox males being the sole applicant allowed to join in most capacities.” He believes that this is the real reason behind the suit.