RELIGION

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

In some ways, real estate lawyer Rachel Freier has a background that might be expected in a new civil court judge.

But Freier starts work in New York City on Tuesday as something quite unexpected.

She's believed to be the first woman from Judaism's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community to be elected as a judge in the United States.

The 51-year-old Freier is a proud product of a world with strict customs concerning gender roles and modesty. As a pathbreaker who embraces tradition, she has sometimes had to explain herself to both outsiders and fellow believers.

The new Brooklyn Civil Court judge says her commitment to the public and her commitment to her religion and her community can go hand-in-hand.