In the wake of the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack in Israel and subsequent social media threats, numerous American Jewish individuals are reassessing their longstanding hesitancy towards firearms.
Gun training experts and Jewish security organizations nationwide have reported a significant uptick in interest. As per NBC News, gun vendors in Florida have noticed a heightened number of Jewish customers recently.
David Kowalsky, who manages Florida Gun Store in Hollywood and provides firearm training, shared his observations with the news source. “An undeniable rise in firearm interest is evident among Jewish and Orthodox religious communities. Both individual and group training inquiries have surged,” said Kowalsky. He further mentioned that local synagogues approached him recently to facilitate gun training workshops and shooting exercises, predominantly for those unfamiliar with firearms.
Kowalsky emphasized the variety of individuals seeking training: “Mothers, educators, primarily individuals with no prior firearm exposure or ownership aspirations,” he explained. He attributes the trend to growing security concerns and apprehensions about potential threats.
Sharing her experience, Henya Chein, a 25-year-old Orthodox Jewish artist and mother, revealed her apprehensions even after attending a gun safety seminar and subsequent range session. “Holding the gun, I was overwhelmed with the desire to abandon it and flee,” she confessed. Nonetheless, she felt compelled to pursue it due to perceived rising safety threats to the Jewish community.
NBC News highlighted the traditional reticence about gun ownership within numerous Jewish communities. Hank Sheinkopf, a political analyst and Orthodox rabbi, remarked to NBC News that traditionally, Jewish communities have leaned liberal, favoring gun control and opposing personal firearm possession. However, with recent events, Sheinkopf believes the perception of the U.S. as a haven for Jews is shifting.
NBC also reported the rise of extremist content on social media, calling for harm to Jewish communities and other groups within the U.S. and Europe. Recent events have additionally witnessed Muslim Americans facing threats.
Endi Tennenhaus, a Floridian preschool director, highlighted the importance of women’s gun safety training, especially given the increasing number of men within her community procuring firearms. Marine veteran Eilon Even-Esh, also based in Florida, has organized multiple emergency safety and gun training sessions for his local Jewish community, responding to a continual flow of requests. “These are ordinary individuals aiming to ensure their safety,” Even-Esh stated.