With a massive spike in violent antisemitic attacks, Jews in New York are taking their community’s protection into their own hands.
By United with Israel Staff
During the past year, hate crimes targeting Jews in New York have spiked, ranging from vicious unprovoked assaults on the street to car-rammings and property destruction.
To that end, recent analysis of NYPD data demonstrated that over the past two years antisemitic incidents in New York City have doubled.
While a number of responses have been proposed, self-defense remains the most practical, immediate way for Jews to protect themselves against attacks.
To meet this need, organizations in the area, such as Legion and the Community Security Service, train Jews to physically protect themselves, their institutions and the Jewish way of life. Both groups provide self-defense training and theoretical counter-terrorism instruction to prepare community members for the mounting threats posed by antisemitic forces on all ends of the political and ideological spectrum.
Legion’s president is a former IDF soldier named Corey Feldman who recently told the New York Jewish Week (NYJW) that demand for the group’s classes is growing.
“We believe that the best way to confront [antisemitic hate crimes] is deterrence,” Feldman told NYJW . “We want to make sure you’re going to think twice before you start pushing that guy on the subway who is wearing a kippah.”
In 2020, Legion’s founder Jon Loew told The Algemeiner, “I think Jews are realizing that if you’re in America, you’re a target.”
Loew made the comments after a deadly shooting in a Jersey City kosher market and a brutal machete attack in Monsey, New York, which forced Legion to expand its offerings.
Legion’s training program includes physical self-defense, situational awareness training, emergency first aid, active shooter response, Krav Maga anti-terrorism principles and Jewish history.
“It’s the idea that we’re not going to be sheep; we’re going to be lions,” Arielle Mogil, Legion’s vice president of operations, told WNYC News in 2020. “We’re gonna train and learn how to defend ourselves so people won’t come after us anymore. That strength will give us the freedom.”
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