Ruchie Freier, “Queen 93,” A True Woman of Valor

The new documentary, to be released this weekend, “Queen 93” is a trailblazing look at an otherwise closed community, namely the Hasidic community of Boro Park, Brooklyn. The filmmaker, director, producer and crew remained respectful throughout the filming of the community’s religious beliefs and practices. Sharing films through a Jewish lens is what makes the LA Jewish Film Festival so unique and special. The film opens this week at select Laemmle Theatres throughout the country and also soon on PBS.
In a Q&A following the screening I attended, director Paula Eiselt stated that it all started when she came across this story 6 years ago on the internet, about how the emergency organization Hatzolah banned women, and this amazing woman, Ruchie Freier (now a civic Judge in Brooklyn) was the leader of a group of Hasidic women, so defiant, who wouldn’t take no for an answer . The film would break the negative stereotypes of Hasidic women and be a sanctification to portray another side, capturing women in a most natural and multi dimensional way, shown in the house (cooking , cleaning , cutting their children’s hair ; as well as working as professionals in the outside world as doctors , lawyers, judges and even forming a women’s EMT force , called Ezrat Nashim (helping women). The film focuses on the true life story of Ruchie Freier, who organized this amazing group of dedicated women, and answered the very first emergency call (delivery of a baby )of Ezrat Nashim. She said “I won’t stop until we get our very first purple ambulance, to expand even further outside our community.” Can it happen here in LA?, asked one hopeful audience member . States Freier, “as long as you have a group of determined women, it can happen anywhere.” A new branch has started outside of Boro Park, Brooklyn, now in Stern College, Manhattan. Ruchie Freier’s daughter Leah says she has learned so much from her hardworking, ambitious, passionate mother, watching her and admiring her despite all odds and obstacles. “There’s always so much going on in our home, from parties, to meetings , to hard work, and to being filmed!” Despite hardships, come wonderful rewards. The filmmaking process itself had a lot of ups and downs to attain support (mirroring much of what the Ezrat Nashim organization faced!). It was a challenge to film in this insular community and the crew had to sometimes be almost ‘invisible‘ when doing the job. It’s a new thing for Boro Park, and people who’ve seen the trailer are quite excited. Of particular special note was the music by Laura Karpman, almost like the “Greek chorus and core of the film.” The woman’s voice singing Eshet Chayil (A woman of valor) at end of film was female vocalist Perl Wolfe, best known as founder and lead singer of Bulletproof Stockings, an all female Hasidic rock band in Crown Heights. Much like other films featuring women trailblazers (RGB, about Ruth Bader Ginsberg; and Seeing Allred, about Gloria Allred), this film is a work of genius about a remarkable woman of valor.

About Bonnie Priever Curtain Up!

I am a theatre reviewer extraordinairre. I attend and cover theatres ranging from large to small venues, and every subject from musical theatre to dramatic presentations. Also please check out my reviews at and my email is
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