Both Sides of the Synagogue Gun Debate

By Donna Gordon Blankinship. September 2019

Yocheved is a gun-owning Jewish mother who thinks it's not anyone's business--not even her rabbi's--if she decides to carry a weapon to Rosh Hashanah services this year. She doesn't know if any other gun owners in her community are armed when they attend services at her Orthodox shul in Dallas, but she believes they are. Yocheved, who moved to Texas from California about two years ago, in part because of less stringent gun laws, thinks her community would be safer if all Jews concealed a weapon under their clothing or tallit.

"I would feel very comfortable if I went into synagogue and everybody had concealed carry," said the 57-year-old, who asked that her last name not be used because she fears for her safety. "The bad guy would probably know that and would not use that synagogue as a target."

Yocheved became a strong supporter of guns in synagogue after personally experiencing anti-Semitic threats when she spoke publicly about her love for Israel. With the recent shootings inside and outside congregations in Pittsburgh, Poway, Calif., and Miami, more and more Jews in the United States feel that their institutions are under threat--and that armed guards and even armed congregants may be the only way to assure their safety. .....

With October 27 being the one year anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh PA, it would seem relevant to consider the debate over synagogue 'gun-free-zones', and the subject of members being armed concealed. It remains a contentious issue.


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