“Time is like money. It’s not how much you have, it’s how you spend it,” Judge Freier says. It’s an expression her mother taught her and repeated throughout her life — one that Judge Freier clearly lives by. At 57, she was just appointed by her supervisors to the New York State Supreme Court. A Jew in the City All Star, she’s believed to be the first Hasidic woman ever to hold this position.
A mother of six (and grandmother), she started college at 30 after working as a legal secretary and wanting to further her education. She became a lawyer at 40 and a judge at 50. For Judge Freier, it’s clear that it’s not when things happen in life, it’s about the small steps that add up. Big changes don’t happen overnight, she shares.
The thread and motivation running through her entire career is her devotion and service to God. “If God created me as a woman in a Hasidic community with these ambitions and these dreams that means I could make it happen,” she explains.
She blends her two worlds, in what otherwise might look like a double life. She applies her strong Jewish values of compassion and kindness to her work on the bench. Clearly they have served her.
She brings those values into another area of her life as well. In 2014, she started a nonprofit called Ezras Nashim. Ezras Nashim is an all-female EMT and ambulance service aimed at serving women in Orthodox Jewish communities who may feel uncomfortable being treated by men when they’re in a vulnerable state and emergency situation. This corps gives space for women with the desire to be an EMT to give in that way as well. It’s now an essential part of the Brooklyn community they serve.
This summer, Judge Freier will officially run for the Supreme Court position and if she is successful, the word “acting” will be removed from her title.