66270118 10157420373214494 3382663903858130944 o 300x293 1Gitty Beer, the busy mom of five, a new grandmother, and the wife of United Hatzalah’s founder Eli Beer, started and runs United Hatzalah’s Women’s Unit, which is made up of more than 100 EMS volunteers and counting.

Although there are almost 1,000 women who volunteer in United Hatzalah, the women who make up this specialized unit share a common background and social framework. 

Up until just a few years ago, religiously observant women in cities like Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, and others, couldn’t find an organization where they felt comfortable to be both an observant Jewish woman and a volunteer first responder.

70170244 1051075218556774 7782068852988313600 n 300x204 1Gitty Beer recognized that United Hatzalah was able to answer the needs of these observant women and help them provide a vital service for their communities. With a lot of hard work and determination, the Women’s Unit was born and has been responding to medical emergencies for the past three years.

Over the past year, the unit has flourished and expanded its activities. A special ambulance was donated specifically for the unit this past spring and is in constant use, and many of the women have begun to take ambulance driver training courses. Currently, the unit has six certified drivers. 

Screen Shot 2020 11 10 at 11.22.14 300x210 1“This is how they want to volunteer.  And those women who prefer otherwise, don’t have to join this specific unit,” says Gitty Beer. 

This strong community of women has succeeded tremendously during the pandemic. A first responder who is a woman arriving to help other women suffering from all types of medical emergencies has finally become the norm in many communities in Israel where such a thing was never possible before. 

Gitty Beer, in her own words, shares with us more below.

A Stress Reducer

When a person suffers a medical emergency they are usually feeling very vulnerable. This is especially true during the current pandemic because the woman in question has probably spent a lot more time at home than usual, has been busy dealing with her children and is under a lot of stress.

When a woman arrives as one of the first responders, the patient’s stress level immediately goes down and she feels as if there is someone there who understands her a bit better than a male first responder would. Without even speaking, women just understand each other.

WhatsApp Image 2020 10 30 at 09.16.41 300x224 1The woman who is the first responder doesn’t even have to say a word. They are there, and they are present. I see it all the time. We right away have something in common.

And I am not talking just about physical touch, which might be more comfortable. I am talking about the emotional part.  We calm them down. 

123780494 1427917584205867 6585098250801582987 n 300x276 1We have answers for them that men might not think of. For example, it could be about what they need to do with their kids if they go to the hospital. And if they did go to the hospital during this pandemic, would they need to be in isolation after?

We are not only medical personnel, but we are also mothers and wives. It makes it easier for women during emergencies to hear our opinion.  

We have absolutely amazing male volunteers. But there is just something special when you both understand each other. On almost every call I go on during this pandemic, it is very obvious they are happy we are there. 

Delivering Babies

WhatsApp Image 2020 10 19 at 15.19.05 3 225x300 1I don’t know if it has to do with the pandemic or not, but I’m almost sure it is. We delivered so many more babies than we did the entire time we have been around as a unit!

I am not sure if it is because women are more reluctant to go to the hospital, or are just waiting around until the last minute. 

123683547 10218576999964852 4150460362409819743 o 225x300 1Either way, we have delivered a lot more babies during the pandemic than we have prior to its beginning. 

One of my favorite things, which sometimes occurs as often as a few times a day now, is when I get a picture from a volunteer in the unit after they have assisted in delivering a baby. It gives me a great feeling.  



WhatsApp Image 2020 10 30 at 10.42.12 300x169 1Because the volunteers in our unit are at home more than usual, our WhatsApp group is very active. More than it was before the pandemic. And new volunteers want to join us all the time. 

Many women were really busy before and never noticed what we do, but now they have more free time and want to join. 

Because of the pandemic, the women’s unit has become a close-knit community. They support each other. Recently people feel the lack of community and connection, so it has been so important for them.

WhatsApp Image 2021 01 03 at 14.40.42 225x300 1
Also, many women have gone into quarantine after being exposed to the virus, which is very hard. These are women who work and run businesses.

When you are a mom and you have to go into quarantine it is so difficult because your whole family depends on you.

But these women continue to respond to medical emergencies even though they are putting themselves at risk of being exposed to the virus by doing so. We are obviously careful and wear the proper equipment, but still, there is a risk.  

Women Volunteering Becoming the Norm

WhatsApp Image 2021 01 03 at 14.40.41 300x225 1I salute all of the women who volunteer. Those in the unit and those outside of it. They are all amazing.

They never think twice about anything and just go out there and do their thing.

Every day or so somebody delivers a baby.WhatsApp Image 2021 01 04 at 14.18.31 204x300 1


Today it is a norm that we have women who go out and deliver babies, and it never used to be like that.

And the fact that it has become a norm, has made it extremely special. It means we have gotten to where we have wanted to.

It means we have achieved our goal of making the unit commonplace and accepted in the field.

I am inspired by every single one of these women on a daily basis. It is my honor to lead this unit and I so grateful that I have this opportunity.


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