Rachel Freier ’05 Takes Office as Nation’s First Hasidic Woman as Civil Court Judge


Rachel “Ruchie” Freier ’05 was sworn in last month as the first Hasidic woman in New York State history to be elected a civil court judge. Her historic achievement has received national media attention following her victory in November in the Fifth Judicial District, which includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.

“My commitment to the public and my commitment to my religion and my community - the two can go hand in hand,” Freier told the Associated Press. “This is a dream. It’s the American dream.”

Freier, who started her career as a legal secretary before becoming a paralegal and then attending Brooklyn Law School part time, has spent more than 30 years in legal and political service. In addition to practicing law in offices in Brooklyn and Monroe, NY, she served as a community board member in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Freier, who is a licensed paramedic, also founded an all-woman volunteer EMT agency, Ezras Nashim.

She is a member of the New York City Family Court Attorney Volunteer Program and the New York State Bar Association Committee on Children and the Law. After graduating from the Law School, Freier founded several charities, including international relief organization Chasdei Devorah Inc. and B’Derech, which advocates for education in the Chassidic community. Freier, who emphasizes her role as a mother and grandmother as well as a legal professional and activist, was elected on Sept. 13 and she will take her seat on the bench on Jan. 3.

For further reading:

Associated Press: Trailblazing Hasidic woman judge: 'It's the American dream'

Gothamist: An Interview With The First Hasidic Woman Elected To Public Office In The U.S.

Slate: The First Hasidic Woman Elected to Public Office in the U.S. Started Work This Week