On Oct. 27, 2018, at 9:54 a.m. in Squirrel Hill, Pa., our world changed. The place of our fellowship, our second home, where we share our faith and heart, was violated; and I swear I felt the Earth shift beneath my feet.
While such an occurrence has happened in Europe and Israel, on our soil, it feels unprecedented. We pretend not to be shocked, but in spite of our faith in the greater good, anti-Semitism, racism and hatred do exist. The question now lies in how to best protect against it. As the author of New York Times bestseller The Hunt and a lifelong hunter, I do have a strong stance on this matter.
While it is perhaps uncommon in a Jewish household, I became comfortable with firearms in our home at a young age. Despite the rarity of my upbringing, I am only one of many parents who take great comfort in the highly trained armed guards watching over our children at Hillel Day School on a regular basis. We can all agree nothing is more important than protecting our kids.
That same security should extend to all our brothers, sisters, mothers and grandfathers in this amazing Jewish community and all Jewish communities. The safety of our community is the most important priority of all. Without the certainty of knowing we did our best to protect our past, present and future, how can we move forward?
Political parties and gun beliefs aside, I’ve spoken with several people from our community on this topic and have yet to find anyone who is opposed to more protection. In fact, through the years, I have heard different local philanthropists talk about wanting to fund safety and security at places of faith, all faiths. Now is the time for our community to have this conversation.
Some options may be actual members of the congregation, properly trained with firearms as well as psychological awareness and preparedness, to carry concealed weapons at shul. Posting armed guards and potentially metal detectors at the entrances are other measures to consider. Hopefully, taking such action might help us prevent tragic events like the one in Squirrel Hill from happening here.
David Farbman is CEO of HealthRise Solutions, founder and chairman of Carbon Media Group and a principal in NAI Farbman as well as a best-selling author.