Brighton, MA – Orthodox Rabbi Says Guns, Not Prayers Will Protect Shuls, Encourages Congregation To Arm

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    Rabbi Dan RodkinBrighton, MA – A rabbi here has asked congregants to consider bringing guns to religious services as a form of protection in response to recent shootings at synagogues across the country.

    Rabbi Dan Rodkin of Shaloh House in Brighton, a Boston neighborhood with a large number of Russian-speaking Jews, told the public radio station WBUR that the rise in hate crimes across the country and the loss of life at the Chabad at Poway and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh influenced his thinking.

    Rodkin fears that increased safety measures implemented at Shaloh House — they include security cameras, reinforced glass windows and panic buttons — are no longer sufficient protection. The rabbi said the actions of an off-duty officer at the Poway Chabad center, where one woman was murdered, may have prevented further casualties.

    “I know it sounds horrible, but I think it’s a very logical approach for the situation we’re in,” he said in an interview on the WBUR “Morning Edition” program. “I don’t want people to have guns. But I think to protect our families, it’s a necessity now.”

    “We can’t think, ‘I’m just praying, and God will save me,’ ” Rodkin says. “No, we need to take care of situations ourselves.”

    Several of his congregants, including former soldiers and retired police, are now carrying guns into daily services at Rodkin’s synagogue, which also operates a day school.

    According to the Shaloh House website, “It was founded under the auspices and instruction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who envisioned the creation of a Jewish school in Boston that would serve the needs of the children from non-observant families.”

    Rodkin, who said in the interview that he plans to get a gun and organize training for new firearm owners, was not available for comment.

    Neal Gold, the president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, told WBUR that he understands the concerns about security but said individuals and synagogues have to balance a tension between safety and the Jewish tenet of welcoming the stranger.

    Recent violence targeting Jewish houses of worship has heightened concern at synagogues in Massachusetts and across the country, he said.

    Massachusetts has seen a rise in anti Semitic incidents and hate crimes, including recent arson attacks against two Boston-area Chabad centers.

    Jeremy Yamin, director of security and operations at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, who advises the area’s Jewish institutions, told the radio station that he has heard from other synagogues who are weighing the same question about congregants carrying guns. He cautioned that the decision to carry a gun is not simple and that even those trained with firearms would face a myriad of uncertainties if they confronted an active shooter in their synagogue.

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    19 COMMENTS

    1. He might be correct to want to have guns carried in his temple, but his statement as quoted seems almost heretical:
      ““We can’t think, ‘I’m just praying, and God will save me,’ ” Rodkin says. “No, we need to take care of situations ourselves.””

      G-d runs the world and is in full control of it, despite that He gives us free choice.

      One problem with his statement is that he compared guns to, liHavdil, prayer. Guns are simple tools, while prayers can change worlds. The two aren’t remotely “in the same league”.

      The much bigger problem is that it is incorrect to assert that we “need to take care of situations ourselves”, meaning without G-d? Of course, we can and should take the proper measures which, again, might possibly include carrying guns. But none of that has any relevance to what actually happens on the ground; what actually happens is in G-d’s control, not ours.

      • I think you’re getting a little carried away. do you think he is saying prayers are worth nothing.you know what he means he knows what he means but I’m sure most people know what he means

      • His words were taken out of context. What he meant to say is that although for sure G-d runs the world, G-d expects us to do our part.

        Example One: When Yaacov Avinu got ready to meet Aisav he didnt only daven, he also sent presents and prepared for war.

        Example Two: We dont put ourself in a place of danger and then daven to Hashem to save us – thats why we dont run across a busy highway or jump off a 10 story building.

        The Rabbi is saying, that since now is a time of danger, its not only,nessecery to daven (which is of course nessecery) but now its also nessecery to have guns.

    2. The Rabbi is correct. Only when Jews defend ourselves and fight back will the sickos leave us alone! When the arabs mess with ZIONIST ISRAEL they know they’re going to get hit back. And hard!

      • Are you saying the Arabs don’t bother us in ZIONIST ISRAEL? Wake up dear, it haven’t worked in Israel and it won’t work here. Only prayers can help us in galus.

      • You need a hashkafa/ emunah lesson this site is not the place but a visit to a choshiva rabbi might help your misguided confidence in yourself and the Zionist army. Of course they are only shluchim of the ribono shel olam and do not reflect a frum jews values that everything starts and ends with תפילה and הקבה

      • ZIONIST ISRAEL. GOOD! At least no connection to Judaism as Israel claims to have. Nothing! Zionist State!
        Yea. They don’t believe in G d. Its all about their כח. Let them believe in their might and their glory abd their guns as Tfilah never entered their minds anyway.

    3. Yacov did three things to prepare for Eisuv. 1) Daven 2) Presents 3) he prepared for battle.
      Throughout our history Jews defended themselves when attacked. Davening to Hashem is the Eikor but we have to do our Heshtadlos as well.
      When you need Parnosa do you just Daven or do you go out to work as well? This is no different.
      It’s not just Pittsburgh or Poway, there have been multiple arrests all over the US of individuals who were planning synagogue attacks over the last year. Anti semitic attacks have been increasing all over the country. If you would like to stick your head in the sand that’s your peragative. But I for one will do my Heshtadlos to protect my family and shul.

    4. I don’t leave home without either my Glock or Sig both have 12 or 15 round mags and I always have an extra. I am licensed to carry & go to the range several times a month. NEVER AGAIN!

    5. His words might be taken out of context but he sure mispoke. A Jew does not say that guns and not prayers will protect us. He can advocate for guns to be present at his synagogue but last time I checked it was G d the Almighty that decided who will live and who will die. With or without guns. So Rabbi dear, clear up your words that were terribly mispoken.

    6. Halacha prohibits Jews to engage in any conduct which endangers their health; hence, Jews have to protect their health and safety by carrying weapons to protect their lives, and the lives of their families. We are tired of being victims. Nearly thirty three years ago, I authorized armed guards in the evening to protect our local JCC, and nursing home. There were objections then from members of the JCC, who stated that “they felt uncomfortable seeing people with guns”. Hence, the gurads were removed after a few months. Fast forward to 2019, and there are cops stationed at that same JCC. I was right back then, and only fools in 2019 still question having armed security at Shuls, JCCs, and other Jewish institutions; wake up, Yidden, and protect yourselves now!

    7. after the Hor Nof Massacre i remember the Rabonim of Ramot 4 /Daled saying that those who have guns could and should bring them to Shul on Shabbos

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