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Why I Came To Synagogue With
A Baseball Bat On The Sabbath

By Mark Altschul © 2018
President of Gesher Shalom, Jewish Community Center of Fort Lee

My Zayda (Grandfather) came to America from Russia in 1924 after being a lieutenant in the Red Army during the Russian Revolution. Back in the mid-60's he would take me to my Synagogue in Fort Lee, New Jersey. I would sit with him before and after the Junior Congregation Services. Never once did I ever think I would be President of any Synagogue but I find myself President of that Synagogue. I never thought I would have to be concerned for the safety of the Congregation. But as a result of the recent events I find that I must and that I am compelled to speak out for my Congregation. The attack in Pittsburgh dovetails with the 80th commemoration of Kristallnacht - the onset of the Holocaust.

We Jews have always had, have and always will have enemies that seek to destroy us. The recent past also demonstrates that the righteous of many faiths are also under the same intimidation. .......

It seems quite possible now that others may follow the author's sentiment following the awful synagogue mass murder, and take action to have some means of answering back. It was once thought that a place of worship was, by default, immune from invasion and attack but it has become plain that nowhere can be guaranteed safe - certainly not if purporting to be a weapons-free establishment. Self defense is a right as well as sometimes an obligation.


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