DALLAS — The 11-hour standoff that took place at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville has forced synagogues to review their security plans. WFAA has learned that many synagogues have armed security, but also have policies that disallow congregants from carrying firearms.
"I believe every synagogue in America is having a discussion, especially this week, on security," said Yehuda Remer, who is an Orthodox Jew in the Dallas area.
"You need to take security very seriously," he said.
Remer, who has dubbed himself the "The Pew Pew Jew," has written multiple children's books on gun safety and the 2nd Amendment; a topic he says many see as taboo.
"There's a difference between a guy with a gun and a team of guys with guns," said Rabbi Raziel Cohen, who started National Defensive Firearms Training. He's also known as the "Tactical Rabbi."
Rabbi Cohen, based in New Jersey, said that a group of congregants who have received the same training are far more effective than individual gun owners with different training.
According to the organization's website, Cohen has received Special Forces training and has taken courses in tactical response.
"They were dealing with someone who was already inside the facility, already a threat inches from where other people are," said Cohen.
Cohen said even basic training can help a civilian "survive deadly encounters." He works with synagogues on their security plans and offers firearm training.
In the last several days since the Colleyville incident, Cohen has received interest from people in the D-FW area and synagogues for training.
"You are your own first line of defense. You can't rely on someone else to make sure you get to go home to your family," said Remer.
Both advocate open and conceal carry inside synagogues-and not just by armed security. Remer and Cohen may be in the minority and said they're fighting that too.
"I've been told I'm not a real Jew because I support gun rights," said Remer.
Incidents like Colleyville are reminders of a growing sentiment that places of worship are sometimes not prepared and could be soft targets. It is a narrative Remer is trying to re-write literally, and Cohen is hoping to do as more Jews get training.
"Don't mistake our kindness for weakness. Just because we are going to the house of worship doesn't mean to we are going to be victims," said Cohen.