They’re hoping to make guns kosher for Shabbat services. 

A congregation in Midwood, Brooklyn, argues in a new lawsuit that the state’s new firearm law banning the carrying of concealed guns at houses of worship has effectively put targets on their backs at temple, a lawsuit alleges.

The legal challenge was organized by the New York State Jewish Gun Club in Rockland County.

“You are making them sitting ducks,” said lawyer Ameer Benno. “It’s not a myth that Jewish houses of worship are targets for hate.” 

The case, filed on Sept. 29 in Manhattan Federal Court, takes aim at the Concealed Carry Improvement Act signed by Gov. Hochul in July, which banned concealed-carry permit holders from bringing weapons into “sensitive locations,” including “places of worship or religious observation.”

The Concealed Carry Improvement Act banned concealed-carry permit holders from bringing weapons into “sensitive locations,” including “places of worship or religious observation.”
The Concealed Carry Improvement Act banned concealed-carry permit holders from bringing weapons into “sensitive locations,” including “places of worship or religious observation.”
Shutterstock / Krasula

The law passed swiftly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in June overturning New York State’s long-standing requirement that concealed-carry permit applicants show “proper cause” to get a permit.

Steven Goldstein, president of the Brooklyn Orthodox Congregation Bnei Matisyahu, is a concealed-carry permit holder. He told The Post that since the new gun law went into effect Sept. 1, he has attended services less often out of fear that the synagogue will targeted for an anti-Semitic attack. Other congregants have quit coming to services altogether.

“We’ve had people say they will not attend because we no longer have an armed security guard,” Goldstein said, referring to himself. “We’re a small, tight knit group, and to lose people, it takes a toll on the entire community.” 

Tzvi Waldman, founder of NYS Jewish Gun Club, said religious Jews are increasingly taking up arms for their protection.
Tzvi Waldman, founder of NYS Jewish Gun Club, said religious Jews are increasingly taking up arms for their protection.
NYS Jewish Gun Club

The suit claims that the lack of armed protection in synagogues heightens fears and prevents the faithful from freely practicing their religion. It also contends the law’s language about what constitutes a site of religious observation is so vague that people with concealed-carry permits who pray in parks or at work while packing heat are committing felonies.

Tzvi Waldman, founder of NYS Jewish Gun Club, said religious Jews are increasingly taking up arms for their protection. His group’s membership has surged from roughly 30 people since its formation in 2019 to “hundreds” across the state now.

A rash of violent anti-Semitic attacks has kept the Jewish community on edge. Eleven people were massacred at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, while another attacker slashed five men in Monsey, NY, with a machete during Hanukkah in 2019. A pistol-wielding man held four congregants hostage at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, in January. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law earlier this summer.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law earlier this summer.
Hans Pennink

An Anti-Defamation League report from April found anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2021, with New York leading the nation at 416 cases. 

“People realize what the answer to the problem is,” Waldman said. “To get licensed, to be there discreetly with the crowd to stop anybody that comes in with bad intent.”

A federal judge Thursday temporarily blocked enforcement of several provisions of the NY gun law, including many restrictions related to “sensitive locations,” but largely let stand those involving places of worship and religious observation. 



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