If G-d forbid there is more to come - that hired guard standing in front of shul will be the first victim of an anti-Semitic gunman, guaranteeing another synagogue massacre
If a taboo was broken on Saturday and American synagogues are going to become magnets for violent anti-Semites, then American Jews will have to protect themselves.
We saw in Pittsburgh that it is not possible to save Jewish lives by waiting for the police to come and do so. For within minutes on Saturday, 11 Jews had been shot down and killed by a single gunman.
As we have heard since the massacre, the response among many Jews will be to hire armed guards to stand in front of synagogue buildings.
However, if an anti-Semite plans an attack on a synagogue, the first bullet must be for that bored and surprised guard standing by the front door.
For decades, the United States government has assigned federal sky marshalls to sit among passengers on airplanes, who remain unknown to all but the aircraft crew.
If a lunatic passenger thinks he is going to hijack an airplane, he is first going to be shot by a sky marshall….even at 35,000 feet.
Similarly, the only way to save the largest number of Jews will be to have armed Jews sitting among congregants in synagogues. They will provide the immediate response needed to protect Jews and will prevent another 11 Jews from being butchered before police race to the scene.
Of course, there is nothing new in Jewish life. For centuries, US Jewish communities have debated---always with great fear-- the wisdom of defending ourselves. It has always been controversial. In Europe, in Israel and yes, in a much earlier America, Jews carried guns to protect their communities.
The reason, of course, was that at the end of the day we can only depend upon ourselves. No paid guard on the street will stop a suicidal anti-Semite, as the brave guard will always be the first casualty.
The World War II generation of American Jews, who learned how to shoot guns while in uniform, would have been able to defend their shuls. Their weakened sons could not.
Now -- many in this next generation---the grandsons of the Jewish American soldiers---are different than their fathers, and confront the world in ways that are more realistic than their parents did.
To protect their fellow Jews, they will need to become licensed to own guns. They will need to be trained to shoot straight, and to correctly respond to protect a crowd.
And later, we will be thankful that there are such young men who sit among the Jews in synagogues to prevent future massacres.
But every day that we waste talking, that we do not arm ourselves and sit among our fellow Jews in shul---every day leads us closer to another synagogue massacre.
Of course, I am frightened that my son might need to carry a gun. But I am infinitely more frightened that my son and his family could be defenseless in shul.
Too many have perished for the sake of our Judaism to sit by as more are threatened. Too much blood and toil has gone into the building of our communities and synagogues to allow a single anti-Semite to prevent us from attending shul.
This is not about being politically left or right, pro-gun or anti-gun control--this is only about who will live and who will die.
If we believe Am Yisrael Chai, that the people of Israel live, it is time to prove it by taking it upon ourselves to protect our beloved communities.