Jewish Group Offers Firearms Training to Keep California Synagogues Secure

A Jewish security group, Magen Am, is training individuals in California to use firearms a
Magen Am/YouTube

A Jewish security group, Magen Am, is training individuals in California to use firearms as part of a security team in synagogues or other houses of worship.

Magen Am, which means “Nation’s Shield,” draws from the United States Marine Corps and Israeli Defense training, among others, to equip individuals in armed security tactics to keep their synagogues or other houses of worship secure.

Magen Am’s Rabbi Yossi Elifort spoke to Breitbart News about the group’s mission, saying his group “offers various degrees of training, some of which are exclusive to the volunteer security teams and some of which are open to the general public.”

The training courses include “firearms, security theory, communication,” and others, with the goal of creating a shield for others.

He stressed:

Magen Am does not want people coming through as a way to get a license to carry. We want people coming for the benefit of the community and we’re betting a lot on every volunteer that comes through. There are massive insurance policies, licensing, the corporate structure is balanced on each person that comes through the program. So, if someone is coming through just so they can have a gun to protect themselves, that’s one thing, but what we’re investing in is protectors who are willing to defend others. And the best way to do that is have, as part of the agreement, that they volunteer in their house of worship to keep others safe.

Rabbi Elifort said when a volunteer comes for training, the volunteer’s synagogue pays “a nominal fee” to cover the insurance costs associated with adding the armed security member.

Breitbart News spoke with Rabbi Elifort about the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tree of Life Synagogue, which had no armed security when attacked on October 27, 2018, and asked him how he responds to synagogues in California that do not seek out a security team. He said, “At the end of the day, my organization, Magen Am, is a shield. A shield isn’t a guard, a shield is something you can hold to protect yourself. Our mission is to train and empower a community to secure itself from within, but the community needs to be willing to do it. All I can say to people is, based on our history, I think it’s prudent for every synagogue, every house of worship, to do something to improve security.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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