Synagogues Should Not ARM Ordinary Congregants, Jewish Security Agency Says


    NEW YORK (JTA) — If synagogues hire armed guards, they should be trained police officers, a top Jewish security agency says in a new report.

    Armed congregants who are not law enforcement officers “are unlikely to have experience dealing with high-stress situations,” according to the report issued Wednesday by the Secure Community Network, the umbrella security agency for Jewish institutions. These congregants “are unlikely to have comprehensive training about when not to use lethal force,” it says.

    The report was composed following consultations with a group of law enforcement and security experts in August. It was commissioned in the aftermath of the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh in October 2018 and Poway, California, six months later.

    “It is the Task Force’s view that employing a uniformed police officer is the option most likely to achieve the common goals identified,” the report says. “More broadly, employing an on- or off-duty law enforcement officer or a recently retired officer who continues to maintain relevant certifications and training is the recommended best practice.”

    The report says synagogues must consider a number of factors before deciding to hire armed guards, including cost, legal liability, public perceptions and the opinions of congregants. It says that hiring armed security needs to be part of a broader plan that includes doing a threat assessment, coordinating with local police, bolstering the building’s physical security, and training clergy and congregants to respond in an emergency.

    “In some locations, the presence of firearms may be readily accepted, or even expected,” the report says. “One should not assume that the presence of firearms will be reassuring to all; some may find the presence of firearms distressing.”

    Follow VosIzNeias For Breaking News Updates

    Entertaining Videos and Delicious Recipes on


    1. I agree but our recently retired highly trained police swat officer knows all the members who carry. He said that we are his backup knowing that if he goes down from a highly armed assailant the members will back him up.

    2. Last couple of major shoot-outs where police were involved demonstrated that they aren’t as prepared as they should be. The Florida High School trained security guard, ex-cop, wasn’t very effective. Liberals aren’t the sole issue in the failure to maintain society, follow the $$$$.

      • Hey Boroch, the coward at the Florida High School was not a security guard, but a trained law enforcement officer, who didn’t do a darn thing to stop the killer. He has since been indicted, for his malfeasance and negligence.

    3. They dont want jews to be armed. And they dont want to change the public’s perception of Jews, that we are non-violent, non-confrontational people. This reputation needs to change and people need to see Jews as people who will stand up for themselves and not just be sitting ducks.

    4. A tragedy ch”v caused by an assailant or caused by a congregant (whether by “friendly fire” or otherwise) is still a tragedy. Unfortunately, the latter is far more likely to occur than the former.
      But, I’m sure the local cowboys here will feel differently.

    5. This opinion is contrary to daas Torah. R’ Chaim Kanievsky ruled that no armed guards should be hired and only congregants should come armed should they choose to do so.

    6. In my shul most of those armed are responsible level headed men, but opening fire in a crowded shul may lead to death or injuries from “friendly fire” as we have seen happen with highly trained police officers. There is no easy answer to protecting us from deranged individuals or terrorists.

    7. Keep the doors locked with a combination, and that is good enough. We’ve installed those combinations on all of our Shul entrances months ago, before this latest uptick of hate crimes. The only down side is that guests who want to join the davening and don’t know the combination, have to wait for someone else to open the door for them. Many Shuls put a sign with the aleph bais indicating the code and I’ve even seen a Shul in the 5towns that gives basic Chumash questions as the code to open the combination.

    8. Everyone who has a gun needs to be trained to deal with high stress situations. That doesn’t mean they need to be professional hired security guards.

    9. I served 6 years in the US Army 3 of which were in combat zone & 21 years as a reserve police officer, I’m shomer shabbos & I carry 365 to shul. There are armed private tactical security officers and they all know I carry, B”H I’m within an eruv. The best defense is a good offense. Like the security in the church in Texas. If it wasn’t for this volunteer security team members, there would have been a lot more fatalities. I refuse to be a victim and no yid should, we must remember the words of the Tzaddik, HaRav Meir Kahane Z’TL may his memory be a blessing for Klal Yisroel….NEVER AGAIN….NEVER AGAIN, never will we be led like cattle to the slaughter house. Yidden sign up for concealed weapons training & permits. teach the olem what to watch for, and if you see something say something. Stand up & fight if your threatened, learn how to defend yourself. We are a nation of shalom & HaKodesh BH protects us, but we must do our job as well. The Arabs know this all to well & fear the IDF,

    10. You you just don’t buy a gun in the 99 Cents store and stand guard in your synagogue you have to have excessive training to carry the gun just like that the fellow in Texas was well trained as the other congregants there that were trained to shoot but that does not mean that a Layman cannot be trained and be just as effective as an armed guard

    11. Rabbi Chaim knows the pros and cons and he said no hired security only congregants should bring their guns to Shul. We saw in one of the school shootings how the hired guard ran away. You need mspalalim who can be in different directions t take down a shooter.

    12. It’s extremely sad. I am sad the Vos editors decided to publish this insanity. It is so easy to be a purist and expert everyone to be trained in the art of war, and say no guns in schul unless they are “expertly” trained. What they are really saying is we are galus Jews and we are afraid of the goyim. Play the scene in your head…..NN comes into schul firing, a so called “non expert” raises his gun to eliminate him, and this misguided “Security expert” says….no guns in schul! You might hit a Jew! Meanwhile the NN is continually mowing down Jew after unarmed Jew…..and this Jew is tugging at the arm of the “non expert”, in fear he might hit a Jew. As if anyone has a chance without him unarmed……..People are not thinking here……It’s very sad how misguided and absurd the so called security experts advise…..Their advice…..keep everyone unarmed……even if he has a carry permit but is not “perfectly trained”……so this agency prefers the bullet from a NN terrorist who is not always “expertly trained” either. Jews wake up and ignore the experts who speak misguided and absurd thoughts. You do not have to be an expert to survive, you only have to know how to avoid absurd advice

    13. Secure Community Network’s opinion on how to address shule security is unreliable, particularly for a so-called umbrella security agency for Jewish institutions.
      Best is to have as many trained armed congregants as possible who have together created a plan with a professional or a professional protection service.
      Specific congregants are trained on what exactly to do in case of an emergency. Where & how people should be gathered into an area of a shule in order to best protect them. How defenders are to be positioned before & during an event (stationed at different doors, positioned during an attack high & low, left and right, so as to avoid friendly fire), etc.
      NOTHING stops armed evil attackers faster than armed good people.
      Those who’d like to have their guns on them at shule but haven’t participated in the training should realize that during an attack, God-forbid, they may get in the way of those who have taken the regular training classes. I’m not saying the untrained women and men can’t carry their guns to shule. They should just put them in their locker or in the office somewhere safe.
      Everyone should feel safe with a number of trained congregants in shule.
      During the week in shules that have a small group for shacharis & for mincha maariv should encourage everyone who has a gun to have it on them during the time they’re in shule.
      Btw, I’m assuming that the only people who haven’t trained for shule defense but do carry a gun have done some shooting at the range over some time in order to feel comfortable with their weapon.
      Perhaps, also, those younger people who’ve shown themselves to be jumpy or hotheaded or like such should be encouraged to take the shule training if they want to bring their gun to shule at all.
      The idea that trained congregants are more likely to shoot people in shule than an evil assailant is an example of silly, dangerous Liberal foolishness that gets people murdered or injured every day.
      This that I’ve laid out seems to me to be the best scenario for all shules everywhere.
      Any intelligent, non-libtarded comments?

    14. Absurdity is 100 percent the way,an average armed guard isnt like a professional player,that no one can match that kind of skill and talent.nor are they the olympic gold metal winners in sharp shooting .most people can be different than being trained as a truck armed guard isnt exactlly like tom seaver than only a few can be trained like that


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here