Justice of New York City Criminal Court
|Born||April 2, 1965|
Brooklyn, New York
|Education||Bais Yaakov, Touro College|
Brooklyn Law School
|Organization||Ezras Nashim EMT Group|
|Known for||First Hasidic Woman Judge|
In 2016, she campaigned and was elected as a Civil Court judge for the Kings County 5th judicial district in New York State, thereby becoming the first Hasidic Jewish woman to be elected as a civil court judge in New York State, and the first Hasidic woman to hold public office in United States history. Although she ran for the Civil Court, after her election she was assigned to serve on the Criminal Court in the Kings County 5th judicial district. She previously worked as a real estate attorney and community activist, and served as a volunteer court lawyer in the New York City Family Court.
Early life and education
Freier was born in Borough Park, Brooklyn, the eldest of five children in a Hasidic Jewish family. While attending the Bais Yaakov high school in Borough Park, she took a course in legal stenography, and she graduated from high school in 1982. At age 19 she married David Freier, with whom she has three sons and three daughters.
Freier worked first as a legal secretary, and, in 1994, as a paralegal at law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, in order to support her husband in kollel. Her husband went on to complete an accounting degree at Touro College, and in 1996, she also decided to pursue a college education. She began studying law at age 30 after realizing she was working for lawyers younger than her.
Freier also had a law office in Monroe, New York, where she does business with Hasidic residents of nearby Kiryas Joel. She advocated for the Satmar Hasidic Community by speaking to residents of Orange, Sullivan, and Rockland counties, to help correct misconceptions people might have about Hasidic life in Kiryas Joel and to better understand the Hasidic neighbors in their midst.
Civil court judge
In the September 2016 Democratic primary election for Civil Court Judge of the Kings County 5th judicial district, Freier garnered 4,730 votes (40.9 percent), followed by Jill Epstein with 3,993 votes (34.5 percent), and Morton Avigdor with 2,835 votes (24.5 percent). She entered the November general election, with Avigdor as a Conservative Party challenger, and received 68,088 votes (74.4 percent), to his 23,393 votes (25.6 percent).
On December 22, 2016, she was sworn in at Brooklyn Borough Hall. She delivered a speech that included Hebrew and Yiddish phrases and concepts which she translated into English. Her inauguration ceremony was carried live on WABC-TV  and News 12.
In December 2017 Megyn Kelly welcomed Freier to The Today Show as the woman The New York Times has called “the Hasidic superwoman of night court”; she was featured in the series “She’s Got Faith,” marking her one-year anniversary on the bench.
|Brooklyn Civil Court
|√ Rachel Freier 40.9%|
Jill Epstein 34.5%
Morton Avigdor 24.5%
|Brooklyn Civil Court
|√ Rachel Freier (D) 74.4%|
Morton Avigdor (R) 25.6%
In 2008, Freier was one of the founders of B'Derech, a GED program for Haredi youth at-risk. The organization also helps troubled teens with therapy and hypnosis. The program launched in partnership with the New York branch of Bramson ORT College adding a Men's Division and Women’s Division.
In 2010, Freier advocated to save Breslov Yeshiva in Williamsburg, in spite of opposition from some who harassed the students and maligned the Rabbi, Yoeli Roth. Freier received threats for defending the yeshiva, but she won the court case.
In 2011, she became involved with Ezras Nashim, an all-female Orthodox Jewish volunteer EMT ambulance service established with the goal of preserving women's modesty in emergency medical situations, especially childbirth. The group was formed after its request to add a female corps of EMT volunteers to the all-male Hatzalah organization, the long-standing Orthodox Jewish EMT service in New York City, was rejected, Hatzalah was the subject of controversy as articles in the New York Post  and JEMS Magazine criticize the organization for its discriminatory practice of not allowing women to join. The group of Orthodox women cited the need for modesty and sensitivity to the needs of fellow Orthodox women. Freier is working on a project to buy an ambulance for the organization. Freier initially provided advocacy services for the group, and took over the directorship of the organization in 2012. Ezras Nashim was licensed by the New York State Department of Health in February 2013, though the volunteer corps respond in their own private vehicles as Ezras Nashim is still awaiting a license to operate a full ambulance service.
Freier is a licensed EMT, and has completed advanced training to qualify as a New York State paramedic. She has served on Borough Park's Community Board 12, and performed pro bono legal services for the New York City Family Court.
Freier appeared in a documentary about Ezras Nashim entitled “93QUEEN” which was directed by Filmmaker Paula Eiselt. The film made its world premiere on May 1, 2018 at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. The film is set to appear on PBS's POV.
Honors and awards
In September 2017, Freier was honored at the New York City Hall in the Council Chambers with a "Proclamation Award" presented by the Speaker & Council-members of the Jewish Caucus for her achievement of becoming the First Hasidic Woman elected to Public Office in New York City.
In 2017, Freier was chosen by The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, as #40 of the "50 Most Influential Jews" in the world. In 2016 she was named one of the "15 Most Influential Jews" in the world by Makor Rishon, another Israeli newspaper.
Also in 2016, Freier's judgeship was selected by Kings County Politics as one of the "Top 10 Stories" among political events in New York City that year. She was also listed by City & State magazine as one of the "Winners" among politicians of New York State that year, and was a recipient of Jew in the City's "Orthodox Jewish All Stars Award".
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