Oy! Is he loaded for kaddish, or what?


I had to smile at this report.

Rabbi Raziel Cohen of Morris County, NJ, has designed a $550 kapota — the long jacket donned by married Hasidic men on Shabbat and holidays — meant to comfortably conceal a gun.

After he got married about two years ago and graduated to wearing a kapota, “I realized right away it was a problem,” said Cohen, 24, of the cumbersome garment, which is traditionally fashioned with buttons and a belt known as a gartel.

The issue: He couldn’t easily pull out the Glock 19 or Glock 17 he always wears during synagogue.

“When you draw a gun, you have to do it safely, quickly and efficiently — ensuring that it’s not a risk to the person drawing the gun or to those around him,” said Cohen, an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

So he designed a “Tactical Kapota” with quick-access snaps hidden under a decoy version of the buttons traditionally required for the jacket.

A rise in anti-semitism and attacks on places of worship has inspired more Jews to carry weapons … “The danger increased. I’d like to be safe and be in control — I don’t want to be a victim,” said Aaron, a 20-something Hasidic New Yorker who asked The Post to withhold his last name for safety reasons.

There’s more at the link.

Of course, the jokes are already flying.  The New York Post headlined its report “It’s a schtick up!”  I like the commenter who tried to imagine Bruce Willis wearing something like that in a Die Hard movie.  “Shalom, mother******!”

I’m not in the least disapproving of a rabbi doing that.  During my service as a minister of religion, there were times and situations that were a little . . . fraught.  Having learned the hard way, I carried a gun under my vestments, and wouldn’t have hesitated to use it if necessary to defend my congregation.  I knew many priests and pastors who did the same in Africa.  It would probably horrify most American priests to even think of it, but in the “real world” out there, where one has to protect oneself or become a victim (sometimes several times each day), it’s an accepted norm.

We pastors (of all denominations) used to joke that we wouldn’t have to stop at shooting an attacker:  we could either administer the Anointing of the Sick before he was taken to hospital, or give him the Last Rites if that looked necessary – and then bury him!  It would probably be ecclesiastically (not to mention legally) frowned upon, however, if we took up a collection from him . . .



  1. And many unbelievers would say you should turn the other cheek; ignoring Luke 22:36.

    However other verses of Luke point to Jesus being a pacifist.

    Personally, I agree that we should protect ourselves, but then I wonder if I am wrong.

  2. I have always liked pastor Doug Giles answer to the question: "WWJD if some nutjob came into his church and started shooting people? Why, he would whip out his Glock and double tap the center of mass!"
    And I have always wondered why there is so little thought given to the scene in the garden of Gethsemane when Peter pulls his sword and lops off the ear of the high priests slave. No one seems to ask "Why is Peter carrying a sword?" Quite simply, it seems to me, they all did. It was a normal part of dress at the time.

  3. True Greg.
    But Jesus also told Peter to put his sword away and healed the slave. Though perhaps that was more to fulfil the Scriptures and not necessarily because Jesus was a pacifist?

  4. Greg and Linda, Jesus didn't come to bring Peace, he came to bring division and he wasn't a pacifist. In my Southern Baptist Church in rural Southern Alabama, the pastor was armed, his wife was armed and I would say about three quarters of the flock was armed and then had shotguns and rifles out in their vehicles… (especially in hunting seasons) We were not afraid, we knew evil hunted, even in the rural swamp South.

  5. Peter,
    There's a group in my area who would most definitely be interested in this .. for all I know they already know about this … they're called "CCL Shul" and they promote internal security measures for synagogue protection. Many of their members are traditional/orthodox Jews. I took one of their training classes last year .. part of the class was drawing from concealment, while seated, while wearing "synagogue" attire.
    – Brad

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