As terror spreads to various parts of the world, it is important to acknowledge that our synagogues and other Jewish community services are not immune from potential attacks. It is imperative that leadership of all institutions understand how to respond in such a situation.
Under Attack? When Seconds Count! was presented to Synagogue and Community Leaders on Monday, September 11 at Young Israel Of Kew Gardens Hills. The program attracted 40 leaders from synagogues throughout Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island who learned how to respond to an active shooter. The interactive program included participants practicing moves that would disarm a terrorist.
The program was coordinated by Rebbetzin Judi Steinig, Associate Director, Community Services and Yehuda Friedman, Synagogue Services Regional Director, Long Island and Queens, who commented, “During these times of heightened awareness, it is critically important for synagogues to develop proactive security procedures in the event an attack occurs.” Rebbetzin Steinig noted that the presence of so many community leaders highlighted their concern for security in their synagogues.
Community Leaders at the Synagogue Security program: (L-R) Back row: David Reich, President, Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Mara D’asra, Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Eilon Even-esh, Shomer360, , Queens Jewish Community Council Yehuda Friedman, Orthodox Union Regional Director Queens and Long Island, Rabbi Hayim Schwartz, Executive Director, Rabbinical Seminary of America. Front row: Rebbetzin Judi Steinig, Associate Director, Community Services, Orthodox Union, Cynthia Zalisky, Executive Director, Queen Jewish Community Council, and Rabbi David Keehn, Former President. Picture credit: Dennis Shore, Queens Jewish Link
Eilon Even-Esh, a former USMC Captain and IDF Staff Sergeant, presented the program. He is the founder and head instructor of Shomer360, an organization whose mission is “to instill strength and confidence into our community through world class self-defense within a Torah observant framework.” Eilon started his baal teshuva journey while attending Columbia University and was also fortunate enough to attend a number of semesters at the RIETS pre-smicha program at YU. He has served in both the IDF, where he received special forces training, and in the US Marine Corps.
He also has years of experience training with world champion professional fighters and has taught everyone from professional athletes to bullied and sexually abused children. He specializes in training the Jewish community and travels throughout the United States to teach and give seminars. It is very important to him to make sure every Jew has the ability and confidence to protect themselves.
The participants gained an understanding of how pistols and rifles work in order to better neutralize them. They learned gun and rifle disarm techniques when running or hiding is simply not an option and practical ideas for shul unity and safety.
The program was sponsored by The Orthodox Union, Queens Jewish Community Council, and the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills and is available to our OU synagogues throughout the United States. Please contact Rebbetzin Judi Steinig 212.613.8188; firstname.lastname@example.org. for more details.