Why I always bring my Glock to Shabbat
Even before the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif., a local Jewish Orthodox man had begun arming himself for Saturday services. The married father of three from Bergen County, NJ, has a concealed-carry permit, and his fellow congregants and rabbi have no idea he brings a handgun to shul. Here, the real-estate developer, who requested anonymity so as not to become a target, tells The Post’s Doree Lewak why Jews need deadly weapons to defend themselves.
As an Orthodox Jew, every Shabbat morning it’s the same routine: wake up at 8 a.m., get dressed in my suit and tie, and head out the door with my wife and three children for our 10-minute walk to synagogue.
But not before I open my safe and strap on my Glock, which I’ve been carrying to shul for the past year.
When I was growing up, synagogue was always a fun, carefree place to go. It was social, it was sacred, but it was never scary.
Now, it’s impossible to ignore the clear and present danger facing Jews. Last week when I heard about the Poway synagogue shooting, my first thought was, “I can’t believe it’s happening again.”
Only I could believe it.
The Jewish people are targets of hate — as individuals walking down the street and as a community in our synagogues.
My grief with the Pittsburgh and Poway shootings deepened because the congregants were unarmed. If there had been armed security in place, it could have saved lives.
I’m one of the lucky few in my community who can legally carry a weapon. And shul is actually the only place where I carry it.
That said, no one but a few close friends even know I’m armed. Even my rabbi doesn’t know.
That’s because, when I broached the general subject of armed congregants with my shul, I was — no pun intended — shot down. People were afraid something could go wrong: There’s the fear of an attack, and then there’s the fear of a gun being present.
I’m leery of someone with no training or experience bringing a gun to shul. But I have plenty of training. And the more trained you are, the more you treat guns with respect. I’m not trying to be a tough guy or a cowboy.
My top priority is protecting my family plus the hundreds of congregants at my synagogue, many of whom are friends.
We’re living in a dangerous world — Jewish people can’t bury our heads in the sand. We need to be prepared, not just reactive.
I don’t want to be a Henny Penny — ‘the sky is falling!’ — and I’m generally an optimist. But my gut tells me things will get worse for the Jews. Every time there’s a terrorist attack, it encourages other nut jobs, like the Poway attacker whose role model is the New Zealand terrorist.
I want to be prepared in case anything does happen. I know every door, angle and route in my synagogue, should we need to escape. I always tell my wife and kids to sit facing the door so they can see everything going on at all times.
I pray there won’t be another Pittsburgh or Poway, but I expect there will be. It gives me comfort knowing that if something happens in my synagogue, I’m doing my part to protect my family and the congregation.
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