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The first day of school and I'm there packing a Smith & Wesson

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When we planned to make Aliyah, I had no idea that one day I would be walking around Jerusalem wearing a holster holding a Smith & Wesson gun which contained a magazine of eleven 9 caliber bullets.

But shortly after arriving here, I started looking for some volunteer opportunities besides my everyday yeshiva attendance. Most of our retired or semi-retired friends have one or more volunteer activities that they take part in. They may help in beautifying the city, assist local Israelis in bettering their English speaking skills, or assisting in taking care of the animals in Jerusalem's zoo, or any of a myriad of other possibilities.

I noticed a sign from the Police Department asking for volunteers to join in the local citizens' patrol. It sounded interesting, so I answered the call. After filling out the required paperwork, getting a doctor's sign off on my health, and going through a background check, I was accepted. My training consisted of a two hour course of police and volunteer roles and responsibilities. I took a police driving test to qualify to drive a patrol car, and I attended a lesson in the use of a carbine rifle (later upgraded to an M16), and did live firing at a gun range in the Jerusalem hills.

Soon enough I was doing a three hour evening car patrol once every two weeks, together with another volunteer. Besides the police car, with revolving blue roof lights :-) , we were provided with a walkie-talkie and a loaded rifle. We responded to a number of dispatcher calls during the tour that usually had to do with citizens' complaints of cars parked in their driveways, or some not so suspicious people being seen in their vicinity.

The most difficult part was understanding and responding to the occasional rapid fire Hebrew from the walkie-talkie, and dealing with the boredom of driving around for three hours with not much to do. But once we did apprehend a mentally unbalanced Jewish woman who was roaming the streets carrying a large kitchen knife. A few months ago I requested from my police commander to be given assignments to protect events instead of car patrol. That led to me be assigned to the Jerusalem Marathon, Independence Day celebrations, school events, and other local happenings such as a new Torah being brought to a shul.

About a year and a half ago, after the horrific Har Nof massacre, people in my shul in Abu Tor (that abuts an Arab village) were concerned that they needed daily protection and, knowing of my police work, asked me to get a gun and a license to carry it. At the time I was still a few months short of being here three years (when I would qualify to get a license), so I went to work getting all my paperwork together. The shul members signed a letter stating that they wanted me to get a gun to protect them, my police commander wrote me a recommendation, and my yeshiva also wrote a letter stating that they would like me to have a gun to be their security detail every day. And a year ago last July, when my three year anniversary arrived, I put in the paperwork to get a gun license. 

After three months of interviews and more background checks I was approved for the gun carry license. I went to a local gun store/firing range and purchased (with their recommendation)  my Smith & Wesson. Now I wear my holster filled gun 7 days a week, whenever I leave the house (Rabbi Shurkin told me there was no problem with carrying it on Shabbat - details available for those that are interested).

And that's how I came to be at the local (Armon Hanatziv) neighborhood nursery school for 4 hours today, two at the school day's opening at two at its closing. It was very pleasant to greet all of the little children and their parents, and to hopefully make their lives less stressful. And coincidentally, today I also had time to spend at our local gun firing range, taking a half hour refresher course, and shooting 50 rounds to qualify to renew my gun license. My aim with my personal gun was thankfully much better than my aim last week with the M16 at a refresher course with the police :-) .

We are about one month away from Rosh Hashanna. In my vocal prayers, I will be asking Hashem to send us Moshiach swiftly, so that there will be peace in Israel (and then I will be able to get rid of my gun). 

 

I also know that if He deems us not yet worthy of the complete redemption, in my thoughts this year I will pray for a year without any terror incidents, and that therefore I will not ever have to raise my gun from its holster with the idea of using it on someone. But if need be, I will pray that HaShem should guide my hand and make my aim true.

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COM_EASYBLOG_GUEST Friday, 20 October 2017
Last updated on: 10/20/2017
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