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Pikesville, MD - First Orthodox Jewish Woman Fire Lt. Elected

Published on: August 10, 2008 12:33 PM
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Pikesville, MD - History has been made at the 110-year-old Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company with the election of its first ever Orthodox Jewish lieutenant. In fact, Lt. Andrea Lavine is the first in the history of Baltimore County.

“I have wanted to ride in a medic unit ever since I was seven and watched the TV series Emergency,” she said.

When she’s not working at the fire house, Lt. Lavine’s a wife, mother of two teenage daughters and a pediatric social worker at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

As for dress requirements for an Orthodox Jewish woman, Lt. Lavine says “I called my rabbi and he said it was okay for me to wear pants rather than a skirt when I’m on emergency calls. After all, in Orthodox Jewry, helping people becomes really paramount.”

“Andrea adds excitement to the fire house and has become a mentor for many of the recruits,” Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company President Tom Barrett said.


There are about 60 active volunteers in the company, responding to as many as 14,000 calls a year, one of the busiest in Baltimore County.

Lt. Lavine has been with the Pikesville volunteers since June 2005. She was named EMS provider of the year for 2007.


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Read Comments (37)  —  Post Yours »


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:05 PM Anonymous Says:

A Busha!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Not A Busha!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:21 PM Anonymous Says:

a busha because?????????????????


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:24 PM Anonymous Says:

She should be home making her husband dinner and cleaning the house not hanging out with goyim.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:28 PM Anonymous Says:

If you oppose her being a volunteer fire fighter, perhaps you would volunteer yourself.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:34 PM anonymous Says:

Yes a busha

If you don't understand ask your local rabbi why may othodox people are against this. If he also does not know then its time to find another Rabbi. Sometimes the Rabbi pasken the person then paskens the halacha.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:35 PM anonymous Says:

How do you know she has a husband.... Maybe this is her means of support. Keep up the great work by helping out your community.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:44 PM anon Says:

To anon @1:35
"maybe this is her means of support"

This is a VOLUNTEER fire dept.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 01:47 PM Anonymous Says:

maybe her husband is in kollel???
narrow minded people!!!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 02:24 PM Anonymous Says:

i hope it will be a kidush hashem


 Aug 10, 2008 at 02:25 PM Anonymous Says:

to anon 124 pm - an attitude like that is y u dont have a wife


 Aug 10, 2008 at 02:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Anyone that knows anything about this fire company knows that it is run by many frum and non-frum jews. I wouldn't go as far as to say she is hanging out with goyim. The neighborhood this company services is primarily jewish. I would imagine that many of her patients are jewish.

I m not afiliated with this fire company or know this woman, but as a volunteer EMT and an orhodox male from out of state, I have no problem working alongside my fellow man (or woman) in a professional dignified manner whether they are frum, not frum, jewish, or not jewish. To do so is a huge kiddush hashem. We are not 'hanging out'. A responsible volunteer balances all responsibilities carefully, family and religious obligations always come first.

I wear a yarmulke on every call and am proud to be seen acting in a respectful manner and showing the goyim that jews really do care. That's not a busha!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 02:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Hey, people! Let's cut the sinas chinam! Remember, it's Tisha B'Av.

She's saving people's lives, so don't knock her. Would you decline her help if you were severely burned in a fire?

And what's more of a busha, a frum Jewish woman who wears pants while on emergency calls with her fire department, or sinas chinam?


 Aug 10, 2008 at 02:45 PM anonymous Says:

While I admire her admission and contribution to society, have we forgotten that a jewish women is not to be so public a figure. This is not anti-women, I am just pro halacha.
When we start doing what's socially acceptable and ignore halacha we loose respect bu the goyim.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 03:21 PM shmiel Says:

hashem forbid u be in a fire & she's there for ur rescue... wadda ya gonna say then.. huh?


 Aug 10, 2008 at 03:33 PM i understand :) Says:

amen anon 2:25


 Aug 10, 2008 at 03:52 PM Anonymous Says:

OH I get it. Its ok for a woman to slave all day to support her "learning" husband and a house of kids, but she shouldn't be a "public figure" as anon 2.45 says, by volunteering to help in emergencies. There is simply no such halacha that demands this absurd approach. Was Bruriah's life k'neged halacha? Was D'vorah's life k'neged halacha? And so on.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 04:28 PM Anonymous Says:

To anon 3:25
Kol kvuda d'bas melech pnima. Is there still absolutely no halacha??


 Aug 10, 2008 at 04:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Kol kvuda d'bas melech pnima. Right. That is why we send the mothers of many babies to work in the marketplace OUT OF THE HOUSE so the husbands can learn.

You can't have it both ways and make it up as you go along.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 05:08 PM what the ,, Says:

to all of you who say busha
i would like to know if you understand what this women is doing
she is RISKING her life to save regular ppl LIKE YOU
or are you too proud to admit that you need someone to help you
also i wanted to say in general ,,
if someone is doing something good for the general public and you dont like it
please shut up and keep your comments to your self'

have an easy and menaningfull fast


 Aug 10, 2008 at 05:27 PM EMT Says:

Lt. Lavine, From an EMT volly in Brooklyn. We are proud of your accomplishment!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 06:47 PM Avrohom Abba Says:

I am very proud that she is doing this and i wish her well in all she does! She is working in the tradition of many of our great leaders.
Perhaps, the ones who make fun of her need to grow up a bit and learn the Torah which constantly lists the accomplishments of our women.


 Aug 10, 2008 at 08:23 PM Oy Gevald Says:

Lt. Lavine, congratualtions on your promotion. Mazel Tov!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 11:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Where's the busha? Annon 1:05 are you TRULY EMBARRASSED by her enough to call what she's doing a "busha"? Is it her pants? Are you offended by female doctors as well because "FRUM"
lady docs in the hospital suit up in scrubs (PANTS!!!) to serve you and save some lives, that's ok with you right? I didn't think it was a problem. Since when is it our business whether her husband {if she has one} approves or not? My guess is that if she is married her husband supports her 100% does that make you feel better?
Annon 4:28 being a firefighter is not a pubic figure,or any woman who works or volunteers outside the house are they all public figures?
Annon 3:52 you beat me to it...how about Queen Esther public enough for you or Miriam (before KOL ISHA was a problem!)
All of us just live and let live, better ourselves and stop judging everyone it's not our place to judge!!!


 Aug 10, 2008 at 11:38 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Mazel tov to Lt. Lavine!

We should all be proud of her.


 Aug 11, 2008 at 01:10 AM nyc medic Says:

Mazel tov Lt. Lavine, great job and wonderful Kiddush Hashem! (yes, kiddush hashem and not a busha)!! Chazak Ve'ematz, Hatzlacha rabba


 Aug 11, 2008 at 01:16 AM cbsopo Says:

I know Lt. Lavine personally. She is an exemplary example of what a true Jewish woman should be. She is an amazing mother and wife, very involved in community Chesed,in her children's school, and in her Shule. What she wears on the job is far less provocative then the bodytight tee shirts (although I must admit, they do have 3/4 sleeves, spikey high heeled shoes, and questionable length skirts worn in great number by the "vie-be-lach" in the neighborhoods considered MOST frum. Sure, your wives are not "out there" in the work force, but they're front and center, walking on the avenues .... shopping, shopping away .. and VERY public in a less tzinius-dik way ....
I'll take 1,000 Andreas over the little tzotzkelach any day !!!


 Aug 11, 2008 at 02:00 AM Anonymous Says:



 Aug 11, 2008 at 04:53 AM Anonymous Says:

"She should be home making her husband dinner and cleaning the house not hanging out with goyim."

By your bizarre logic, men should be home fixing up their houses and supervising their kids instead of volunteering many hours of their time for organizations like Hatzalah. THEN where would we all be in an emergency.

Stop hiding your predjudices behind what you THINK the halacha is. And I am sure that the rabbi who gave her that heter so she could do this is much more learned than any of the people on this board attacking him or mocking this unselfish and very courageous female fire Lt.

Who saves a life, it is as if (s)he has saved the whole world.


 Aug 11, 2008 at 11:21 AM Anonymous Says:

First of all, I have no problem with her working in the FD, but besides the pants, it looks like her hair isn't covered and she is wearing short sleeves. This is a problem. Also, I'm assuming she is shomer shabbos and they are giving her an accommodation; Does the Balto. City &/or County FD give orthodox jews religious accommodations for people in their employ?


 Aug 11, 2008 at 11:23 AM Anonymous Says:

For all the kvoda shmekels:

Do you sing aishes chayil? If so did you ever READ the TRANSLATION????

I assume you would also need to rewrite Eicha due to the many female references in the text.


 Aug 11, 2008 at 11:23 AM Coach Says:

I have know andrea since she was a teenager. I was proud of her then and am even prouder of her now.

Those who post here and say that Andrea is doing something that is not within the confines of halacha, know nothing about halacha.

Maybe her Rabbi isn't maykil on this issue, could be he isjust machmir on pikuach nefesh.

Andrea, ignore them and remember forever group 3 and the four D's


 Aug 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM Fed Up Reform Jew Says:

I hope she refuses to save the lives of those who slander her on this board.


 Aug 11, 2008 at 01:49 PM Lisa S. Says:

I cannot tell you how much I respect and admire Lt. Lavine (and every fire fighter). It never ceases to amaze me, how much courage Hashem has given these wonderful people. We run from fire to save our lives. They run TO fire to save our lives, and they put their own lives on the line to do it! KOL HAKAVOD!!!! And thank you.


 Aug 11, 2008 at 03:00 PM Anonymous Says:

1. Hair is covered.
2. Sleeves are within less than a tephach of elbows.
3. Husband very supportive!!!
4. Heter given specifically for the purpose of riding the ambulance, with the understanding that pants should be loose fitting work pants.
5. Goal: Kiddush Hashem and Tikkun Olam
6. Remember that you never know who may read what you write.


 Aug 11, 2008 at 09:38 PM Danny Says:

i agree with fed up reformed jew. nothing in judaism says women are inferior. in fact women are closer to g-d than men are. so stop making up your own new jewish laws this is a kiddush hashem 110%


 Aug 18, 2008 at 10:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Guess what - our family knows her very well, we are close friends, and she is a fine model of kiddish Hashem, not just at the fire department, but in her home life as well. She is someone to be emulated, not ridiculed.

To the person who mentioned "accommodations": Andrea is part of Pikesville VOLUNTEER Fire Company, not a paid company.

Chas v'shalom any of you complainers should end up on her stretcher.


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