Defend the Shul! – Realizing and Combating the Pain of Synagogue Attacks

JDL Logo

Israel at war, Europe in political turmoil–it’s no surprise that Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe and at home in the USA. But will “they” really go so far as to attack our communities? In France, they have. But we fought back.

So, what’s a Jew to do? I say we follow the Betar and JDL model of a community wide defensive mindset featuring our youngest learning examples of Jewish self defense and deterrence and utilizing that knowledge to go on to learning Krav Maga and yes, marksmanship.

Whether you are a conservative voting, arms bearing pro Israel Jew like me, or a bleeding heart liberal to be found among the ranks of J Street, we can all agree on one simple point: Our lives are not worth risking waiting for the response time of police forces who may harbor anti Semites in their departments ranks.

It is therefore time to draw our line in the sand, even in America where while less frequent, anti Semitic attacks occur. Recall the gunman who opened fire on the Pacific Northwestern synagogue last year, for example. When I was twelve I went to Shabbat service with my grandmother, only to leave after services to a car driving by and hurling garbage at us while calling us kikes.

Many who read this will think the JDL and Betar are terror groups and should not be copied, but to them I counter with the sad fact that events in Europe and even some in America have demonstrated that they are a necessity in the diaspora. Had the JDL and Betar not gathered intelligence within the Arab crowd that some would go to the synagogue I believe a twenty first century pogrom would have occurred.

So what next?

There are steps that can be taken now to begin defending our Shuls, in the hopes that we will never need to. Religious centers did not need defended in America like the one in France since Christians fought off raiding natives with Winchesters in the 1890s. With any luck things will stay that way, but after Sabbath services are over, discuss amongst your community and with the Rabbi if there is any plan to counter an attack on the building or against the attendees during services in place. Gauge the support level of taking such initiatives where lacking. If the community accepts the need, form your defense team.

Methods of Self Defense (Armed or Otherwise)

In areas where the right to bear arms is infringed by unconstitutional laws, convert vacant Hebrew classrooms into Krav Maga classes. The United States Krav Maga Association can provide trainers if none in the community can instruct it. Where the Shul itself has no classrooms or wants no part in training its defenders, Studios can be found in every major city with certified instructors, many former IDF or US Military, many Jewish. Betar in Paris used an attic. There is nothing illegal about assembling to practice martial arts, be creative.

Krav is the selected discipline because it is uniquely “ours,” developed by the Irgun and Haganah for what would become the IDF, it is now widely used by militaries and militias around the world and teaches self reliance and the defensive weaponization of every limb and object. Even where community members can be armed or called to arms, this fighting discipline is a must have.

Where there is a right to bear arms, all adult (religious definition) men and women of physical fitness should learn marksmanship within the law. Minors should be focused on rifle maintenance and shooting, the rest on both rifles and where applicable pistols. Members of the community can easily assist in this endeavor in America, and training our fellow Jews to defend themselves from persecution is a mitzvot.

The easiest rifles to obtain are Mausers, Mosin Nagants, Garands, Enfields, and SKS’. Where legal, AK47s and AR-15 type semi automatic arms are second to none. Examples of these can all be found for less than $600, in some cases less than $200, anywhere in America. They all share one thing in common: aside from being great for hunting, they’re battle proven and reliable. When the lives of Bubbie Edelstein and her six kids and grand kids are on the line, this is a good thing.

In applying self defensive force, the Jewish law of an eye for an eye is a good metaphor. Meet armed assaults with armed defense, meet fists with Krav Maga. If the police are present leave the guns locked up, if they are not and the Shul has been hostilely entered, use common sense self defense measures as if defending your home. When under attack, members who do not double as security task force should go with the Rabbi into the safest area until the defenders or police can escort them all to safety.

When the smoke clears and your community is safe, barring an aggressive DA seeing the defenders as anything but, life will continue to go on. If charges are filed against those defending their Shul, it is better to be judged by 12 than carried off by 6.

If nothing else, I hope this article spreads awareness of the need for our people to have the what if discussion within the confines of the community. I hope the words of Kahane, “for every Jew a .22” are heard, I pray we never need to use self defense to protect our place of worship, but I pray stronger that if we do, we live true to our forefathers’ promises of “Never Again.”

(Permission to reproduce this article for Jewish Community and other free usage is irrevocable. Media inquiries or other interviews can be addressed to me.)

Israel’s July (or summer) War in Gaza

Rocket fragment in my aunts yard, Ramat Gan Israel.
Rocket fragment in my aunts yard, Ramat Gan Israel.

The State of Israel is in a constant state of war with its Hamas governed neighbors in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has demonstrated the use of a Vietcong type tunnel system and further guerrilla tactics to inflict nearly two dozen casualties on the IDF.

On Friday, my family in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv awoke to shrapnel from a Hamas rocket in their front yard. Per proper procedure, despite it being a chunk of metal, the bomb squad still had to remove it. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

This is the reality people live with in Israel. Those who condone Hamas’ guerrilla tactics are nothing short of rabid dogs with no perspective or respect of life.  To quote Netanyahu, “We protect our civilians from rockets. Hamas protects its rockets with civilians.” Imagine if you had rockets from a border country landing in your yard; I firmly believe you would demand military action against the aggressor.

Anti-Semitism Rising in Media, Globe

Another disturbing trend as a result of the July (maybe summer) War is a rise of Anti Jewish media coverage by the MSM and comedy personalities. Jon Stewart was a recent comedic example, but the worst offenders are CNN and MSNBC interviewing people like Barghouti and promoting their Hamas propaganda.

In Boston, pro-Palestinian counter protestors disrupted a pro Israel March requiring the police to intervene on behalf of the Israel side. The protestors, many Jewish, reported racial slurs, spit in their eyes, and rock throwing from the terrorist side.

Celebrities are also taking the terrorist side, with Rhianna feverishly tweeting “Free Palestine!” Celebrities tend to always side with Hamas, with a few exceptions.

In Summary: Conduct of War, Gaza Solution, Palestine is Jordan

The IDF must conduct the war by whatever means necessary to end the rocket fire and tunneling by Hamas. The 2005 unilateral withdrawal, an olive branch from the Ariel Sharon Administration, is a failure. Israel must implement a different solution for Gaza after winning back the peace.

Gaza should be turned into the Playa del Carmen of the Arab World. Doing so is not far fetched, putting Hamas out of the picture. With a little cooperation from residents and the Palestinian Authority (in lieu of a constant occupation force), Egyptian contracting firms can come in, hire Palestinian workers, and build hotels and other tourist attractions while the government strengthens the infrastructure. All of this under the premise of demilitarized self rule with defense guaranteed by Israel and possibly later on, Egypt.

Unlike the West Bank, who’s Arab residents that refuse Israeli citizenship are de facto Jordanians, Gaza is formerly Egyptian territory. Gaza in the future could be stabilized and returned to Egypt by referendum, or join Israel under Israeli Arab citizenship.

The West Bank, the only viable place to create another state, has been Israeli territory since taking it from Jordan in 1967. Its citizens were Jordanian then and are Jordanian now. The mandate to create Israel and Palestine is therefore a success as there are two states divided by the river.

Jordan is the Palestinian State, a position I have always advocated as 87% of them are ethnic Palestinians including the Queen, and anyone who wishes to live in Arab-Palestine should thus move to Jordan. Israel can easily subsidize the cost if needed, and there is no price too expensive for a guaranteed peace.

The Swiss K-31 Reviewed: Part 2

Monday afternoon I was finally able to take my K31 into the mountains surrounding Las Vegas for some target practice so that I could complete this review. First and foremost, the rifle is accurate. To sum it all up in two more brief points, it kicked as hard as a Mosin carbine and it handles with as much precision as was put into building it.

I had a paper target on a $8.00 Allen brand stand from Wal Mart. The plan was to demonstrate the rifles accuracy at a hundred yards and take a picture. Unfortunately the first shot from the cold barrel went a little lower with the wind than anticipated and literally blew the stand to pieces.

So, after switching to a reactive bowling pin target I proceeded to have fun. The action was smooth, and despite being straight pull the spent cases ejected with simplicity. For the ambidextrous or left handed shooter, the rifle is too right handed oriented to be effectively cycled any other way.

Strangely, if you catch the case after ejecting it, it’s cold. Most spent cases are warm after firing. I’m guessing copper and nickel alloys are good about heat dispersal.

Overall on a scale of 1-10 the K31 is an easy 8 or 9. More accurate than most, with drawbacks being scarcity in ammunition and a stout recoil, the rifle is worthy of being a prized hunting gun or a match ready competition rifle. Whatever the use, it belongs in your collection.

The Swiss K31 Carbine Reviewed: Part 1

Despite remaining neutral through out most of modern history, Switzerland has maintained a very capable home guard  by establishing firearms ownership in every home. During World War Two, Swiss General Henri Guisan instructed that if invaded the Swiss would fight through the last cartridge and into hand to hand bayonet combat. At that time the K31 was the nations most modern and capable bolt action rifle. Developed after the long line of Schmidt-Rubin straight pull rifles, the 31 is an improvement of the K11 but is not a true Schmidt Rubin design as both men were dead. The Swiss produced these rifles from 1932-1958, and they produced them well.

Unboxed K31

I ordered my K31 from AIM Surplus at the end of June. It arrived before the July 4th holiday and I immediately got to work documenting the transaction and set my sights to un boxing the rifle and bayonet

K31 bayonet

I was very impressed at the craftsmanship of the rifle and blade, and surprised at the weight of the unloaded carbine compared to that of a Mosin Nagant M44 of similar length. The walnut stock is very heavy compared to the Russian Birchwood. There is evidence that the rifle had been drilled with for years by a Swiss soldier, but unfortunately there was no famed troop tag under the butt plate of the gun.

k31 butt

The rifle was produced in 1946 and is built like a Swiss watch. The craftsmanship that went into these rifles, while expected for a country that missed out on two world wars, is intricate. They are renowned for their accuracy and are still popular in Switzerland today among match shooters. Their GP 11 cartridge is loaded to match grade ammunition criteria and despite being as costly as an AR15 to shoot, is very fun and powerful. The gun holds six in a detachable magazine, and the straight pull action has little trouble cycling through and ejecting rounds.

The guns sell in the $250-450 range with mine being $279 plus shipping. Like the famed Mosin Nagant and formerly SKS rifles, these guns not long ago were $99 specials. I highly suggest considering one, as the 7.5×55 Swiss has .308 diameter bullets, similar ballistics, and can down any game animal on the continent.

Aftermarket products include diopter sights, sight upgrades by Furter, a clamp on scope mount the Swiss used that can be bought at Brownells, leather cheek riser pads, and just about anything else of relevance. Thanks to large Swiss expatriate populations in the country, most everything can be ordered without waiting for customs.

Stay tuned. Part two of this review will be about shooting the K31.

K31 after stock oiling
K31 after stock oiling


After a hiatus from writing publicly I’ve decided to work on some publishing worthy projects and more relevant to now I opted to bring back my personal blog. Here is what I will be covering:

Political Issues and Events

Life. No, not self help or personal venting, just things that relate to every day as they come up and interest me.

Gun talk.

Why gun talk? Why not? I’m an 03 C&R FFL holder, so it’s fun for me to write about military surplus firearms and how well they shoot. I spend a good bit of my free time shooting in events or just having a day at the range. I also hope to launch a YouTube channel featuring some of my shooting and hunting ventures.

How should you keep up with the blog?  Register. Follow me on Twitter @mpzreb17, where new published links will appear, or like my public Facebook page.