American Jews flock to gun training classes

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Kowalsky, who is Jewish, said he had been approached by local synagogues to host gun training seminars and shooting sessions last week. At a gun safety seminar he hosted last week, Kowalsky said most of the participants were new to the world of guns.

“These are mothers, teachers, most of them are people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them,” Kowalsky said. “There is a concern about security. “I think people are nervous about what is happening and what can happen.”

Rabbi Yossi Eilfort runs Magen Am, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that offers self-defense classes and firearms training to the Jewish community. He said they have received more than 600 calls in the last week.

“We can’t hang up the phone without picking up the next one,” Eilfort said. “The calls for self-defense training, situational awareness training – ‘How can I make my store or my institution a harder target?’ – has been really non-stop.”

Used bullet cartridges on the floor of the shooting range at Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, Florida
Spent bullet casings on the floor of the Florida Gun Store shooting range in Hollywood, Florida, on Friday. Scott McIntyre for NBC News

It is not uncommon for targeted groups to seek self-defense measures after attacks or public threats.

Some American Jews said they had become interested in gun ownership for the first time after 2018. shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue he killed 11 people. TO study 2022 from the University of Michigan found that Asian Americans who experienced racism during the pandemic were more likely to purchase firearms and ammunition for self-defense.

But in many Jewish communities, gun ownership is a taboo topic.

“Historically, the majority of Jews in the country have been left-wing liberals, pro-gun reform, pro-gun control, opposed to personal gun ownership,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran New York-based political strategist who also It is orthodox. rabbi. “Jews with guns were always seen as a strange event.”

But now, Sheinkopf added, it appears that the long-held view that the United States is “the only place in the world where Jews are safe” is coming to an end.

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