Dec 12, 2022, 4:23amUpdated on Dec 12, 2022
A West Hempstead synagogue held a simulated shooting Sunday night with the goal for participants to be prepared in the event of an active shooting.
It’s a scenario no one wants to have happen: A person entering a house of worship with a weapon. But because shootings at places of worship have happened across the country, here on the Island, some people say they want to be prepared, especially as communities begin to celebrate the holidays.
Typically, the Chabad of West Hempstead would be pretty quiet on a Sunday night, but the building was under a simulated attack as congregants learned how to fight back and protect themselves.
Representatives from multiple synagogues in the West Hempstead community learned self-defense during the active shooter training.
As antisemetic incidents happen across the nation and here on the Island, participants learned how to be prepared and, hopefully, save lives if something like this happens at a Long Island house of worship.
“Run, hide, everybody talks about it, but no one talks about fighting, so this is what we came here to do. We teach people how to fight back as if it was an actual attack,” said Avi Abraham, from the New York Self Defense Academy.
Abraham said he has been teaching classes like this at multiple synagogues and churches across the region. He said people need to be prepared for any scenario anywhere because he said hate is here.
Last month, Christopher Brown, from Aquebogue, was arrested in Manhattan for allegedly saying he wanted to shoot up a synagogue. West Hempstead resident Mike Sigal said that is a frightening thought and welcomed the training.
“I feel its realistic,” Sigal said.
The practical training comes after others trained in the gym to learn techniques on how to subdue an attacker and search for hidden weapons. It’s an unfortunate sign of the times, Sigal said.
“We still want to be able to go to temple, we still want to be able and go and pray, we still want our kids to come with us and hang with our friends,” he added. “But we have to do it in a smart way.”
Multiple synagogues participated in the training at the Chabad of West Hempstead, which was funded in part by a Homeland security grant.