women in seminary
women in seminary photo: Flash 90

The haredi educational journal, Kol Hachinuch (Voice of Education), recently published an article under the title “Serious Breaches,” which criticized the training of haredi girls in emergency first aid in a leading haredi seminary. The article states that under the guise of saving lives, girls would arrive at the scenes of accidents, and from there…“needless to say…”

“As part of the rat race of the seminaries trying to offer professional studies,” a new seminary in Jerusalem recently published a catalogue that included a wide variety of study programs for “professional training and certification.” One of the subjects offered is “safety accompaniment - for training teachers and staff members in the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine in order to handle events that may occur in public places such as schools, etc.”

The article states that the study of theory and practice in this area carried out by Ichud Hatzalah (the volunteer rescue organization) and approved by the Education Ministry are “problematic even for men, and even the male kollel students are not rushing to enroll in these courses. The attempt to introduce the role of ‘hatzalah’ to women as well would destroy the whole intention of [the verse interpreted to mandate modesty for women]: ‘All the honor of the king’s daughter is [to remain] within.’”

The authors warn, “Just imagine that there is, God forbid, a situation of people being injured, and women who have passed the course with a medic's certificate are nearby, then the goal of saving lives will pull them to the scene, and… needless to say… And from here the way is paved to [the introduction of such training for] Sherut Le’umi (National Service program for women).”

The haredi community does not take part in the National Service program run by the government as an alternative to IDF service for religious young women. There are alternative programs in the haredi sector for those who wish them.

The article rejects the argument that the emergency medical studies program is designed to train women to accompany women's tours and girls' educational activities. “You’d have to be naïve to think that those possessing first-aid certification, in which they or their parents have invested 3,700 IS ($1000), would be careful to use their certification in these situations only - events that occur only a few times a year. Soon, these women will be accompanying security personnel, ZAKA, and Hatzalah. We’ll see women and young women from these seminaries wearing the fluorescent vests, running from here to there, and responding to the call of the secular. Haredi Judaism is withdrawing from another central principle in the barriers that define and delineate us…God have mercy!”

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