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Doulas- shabbos heter?

 
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SplitPea









  


Post  Sat, Jul 06 2013, 11:03 pm
I am a doula. My rav is amazing and helpful and I CAN go to jews on shabbos. but lately I have been having some local non jews look at me for services. My rabbi said he can't see a heter to allow me to attend a non jewish birth on shabbos BUT FEEL FREE TO ASK SOMEONE ELSE. I don't feel comfortable taking on a client and then telling them if they go into labor during shabbos or YT my back up needs to take them. Any doula out there who has a heter to go to a non jew on shabbos feel comfortable telling me who gave them the heter?
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spinkles









  


Post  Sun, Jul 07 2013, 2:12 am
I was told I can't, and the other doulas I know were told the same. I've never heard of such a heter.

Even if there is such a heter, I don't think it would be fair to your non-Jewish clients. There are a lot of limitations on what you can do on Shabbos as a doula...some things are mutar, some aren't. You wouldn't be providing the same services that they're expecting and paying a lot of money for. Even if they say it's fine ahead of time, they might feel differently once the mom's in labor....
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SplitPea









  


Post  Sun, Jul 07 2013, 6:55 am
A lot of things not allowed on shabbos? That one is new to me. I have been told anything to help a laboring mom that she says she needs is fine (lights music etc) that I should ask a nurse if they are available but if not to do it. The Gemara talks about lighting a fire for a laboring mother in the middle of summer (ie doing something that seems silly and un needed but that is 100% melacha) even on shabbos I do what my moms need. I am going to a community where frum is NOT the majority and you would actually have to ask if they are Jewish. It makes a huge difference. Also to have to ask someone calling you "are you Jewish.... And explain if they are not you can't see them on shabbos seems grounds for being sued for discrimination.
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spinkles









  


Post  Sun, Jul 07 2013, 10:14 am
Quote:

A lot of things not allowed on shabbos? That one is new to me. I have been told anything to help a laboring mom that she says she needs is fine (lights music etc) that I should ask a nurse if they are available but if not to do it. The Gemara talks about lighting a fire for a laboring mother in the middle of summer (ie doing something that seems silly and un needed but that is 100% melacha) even on shabbos I do what my moms need. I am going to a community where frum is NOT the majority and you would actually have to ask if they are Jewish. It makes a huge difference. Also to have to ask someone calling you "are you Jewish.... And explain if they are not you can't see them on shabbos seems grounds for being sued for discrimination.

These are very complex halachos. You can do melacha for a Jew, not a non-Jew. BUT you can only do melacha if the mom NEEDS it. With moms on epidurals, this is a very nuanced question, and even non-medicated moms--if a mom is feeling calm and not in much physical discomfort then it can be hard to argue that she truly NEEDS you to do melacha. If people are paying you and expecting certain services, will they be happy with your restrictions?

I was told specific things I can and can't do for Jews on Shabbos. For example, I have rice socks that I warm in the microwave and use for moms who are having back labor. They're great! But you have to go every 15 minutes or so and warm them up. The Rav said it's not allowed. He said other things are allowed--lights, etc.--but gave very specific lists of what's mutar and what's not. It was something where I had to go item by item with my Rav.

Another issue is that asking the nurse to do things can really make you look bad, and damage your reputation as a doula. More importantly, it can impact the way she treats your clients. If you were an overworked RN, and a couple had a doula in their room, and the doula kept asking you to do trivial things that she seemed perfectly capable of doing--wouldn't you resent it? No matter how much you explain about your religion, the bottom line is that you are inconveniencing someone multiple times for your own benefit, and possibly making a chillul Hashem.

You say that most Jews in your community aren't frum--this is a hard situation, because even if you ask them if they're Jewish, their answer may or may not be halachically valid. Very sticky situation to try to navigate.

Another issue (minor) is that after the birth, the family may expect that you can take pictures of them etc., and you can't on Shabbos.

What if you're with a laboring mom all day Friday, and she hasn't had the baby by Shabbos? All of a sudden there may be a lot of restrictions on what you can do. Will the couple be happy about this sudden change?

I always explained upfront to non-Jewish families about why it would be better to choose someone else as their doula, and referred them to other doulas. (Note: of course I didn't tell them about the different distinctions on Shabbos between Jew/non-Jew; I just told them that I have a whole bunch of things I can't do on Shabbos, and gave examples.)

These are just my personal thoughts and experiences--your Rav may hold differently, I don't know.
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