In the wake of Hamas’s barbaric attack on Israel — and with social media swimming in antisemitic threats and protests — American Jews are abandoning their disdain for firearms and signing up in droves for gun training classes.
“Firearm instructors and Jewish security groups across the country say they have been flooded with new clientele since Hamas assaulted Israel on Oct. 7,” NBC News reports. “And gun shop owners in Florida say they have seen more Jews purchase firearms in recent weeks than ever before.”
David Kowalsky, who is Jewish, owns the Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, Fla. and offers training classes to customers.
“We’ve definitely seen a tremendous increase in religious Jewish people, Orthodox people, purchasing firearms,” Kowalsky told NBC News. “I’ve seen a surge in interest in individual training as well as group training.”
Henya Chein, an Orthodox Jewish artist and mother of two, wasn’t pleased when her husband purchased a handgun after the family relocated from New York to Florida, but with all that is happening, she recently attended a gun safety seminar at her synagogue. She then went to a local shooting range for a one-on-one session.
Chein said she felt “forced to do it” despite being “terrified” of guns, “because Jewish people are not safe anywhere now.”
Local synagogues have, in the past week, reached out to Kowalsky, asking him to host gun training seminars and shooting sessions.
According to the store owner, most of those who signed up were new to guns.
“These are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them,” he explained. “There’s a safety concern. I think people are nervous about what’s going on and what can happen.”
Across the nation, in California, Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, who runs Magen Am, a Los Angeles non-profit that offers self-defense classes and firearm training to the Jewish community, says they’ve received more than 600 calls in the last week.
“We can’t put down the phone without picking up the next one,” Eilfort said. “The calls for self-defense training, situational awareness training — ‘How do I make my shop or my institution a harder target?’ — has just been really, really nonstop.”
Long considered a “taboo subject” in many Jewish communities, gun ownership flies in the face of the “liberal” views held by “the majority” of American Jews, said Hank Sheinkopf, an Orthodox rabbi and New York-based political strategist.
“The majority of Jews in the country historically have been liberal on the left, pro-gun reform, pro-gun control, opposed to personal gun ownership,” Sheinkopf said. “Jews with guns were always seen as an odd event.”
That is now changing, according to Sheinkopf, because the notion that the U.S. is the “one place in the world where Jews are safe — is coming to an end.”
With pro-Palestinian protests taking over America’s cities and schools and calls for global days of rage from Hamas radicals, the fear in Jewish communities is palpable.
As BizPac Review reported, Long Island native Natalie Sanandaji, who survived the Israeli music festival slaughter at the hands of Hamas terrorists, says she feels “safer” in Israel than she does in New York.
A new wave of antisemitic propaganda, similar to that which preceded the Holocaust, has her fearing that history is repeating itself.
— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) October 21, 2023
In her Long Island Jewish community, Sanandaji’s friends are removing their mezuzahs — an encased scroll that contains Hebrew verses from the Torah — from their doorframes. Others are so afraid of attacks, they are hiding the fact that they are Jewish.
“There’s people in Europe drawing Jewish stars on people’s doors if they know it’s a Jewish home,” Sanandaji noted. “A lot of what is happening right now are things that happened right before the Holocaust.”
And though a motive for the crime has yet to be determined, the brutal stabbing death of Detroit’s Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue president Samantha Woll at her Lafayette Park home on Saturday has done little to lower the anxiety American Jews are experiencing.
— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) October 22, 2023
“NBC News spoke with more than a dozen Jewish Americans across the country who sought out gun ownership or formal gun training for the first time in response to the Israel-Gaza conflict. Many said they did not feel comfortable publicly sharing their identities out of fear they might be targeted,” the outlet reports. “At least two people said they had received antisemitic death threats on social media.”
Eilon Even-Esh, a U.S. Marine veteran who lives in Florida, says calls from first-time gun owners for the emergency safety and gun training sessions he offers the Jewish community have been nonstop over the past week.
“Some are concerned, and some are angry,” he told NBC News. “These are regular people that want to feel safe.”
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