Home News Breaking News Recent Attacks Against Jews Call For Self-defense Measures And New Leadership

Recent Attacks Against Jews Call For Self-defense Measures And New Leadership


By Rabbi Aryeh Spero

The Jewish community is experiencing an explosion of anti-Jewish attacks, both physical and ideological. Jews have been gunned-down or stabbed in Pittsburgh, San Diego, Jersey City and Monsey, and are being pushed, beaten and cursed on the streets of New York, in particular Brooklyn. The attacks are happening against the community and individuals, in Jewish institutions and on subways, almost on a daily basis.
We have entered a new time. Jewish students on campuses all across America are singled out for bullying and harassment by Islamic student groups and anti-Israel professors, not only for being supporters of Israel but simply because they are Jewish. The influential New York Times and media outlets such as MSNBC have ramped up their historic anti-Israel rhetoric, as well as their distaste for Orthodox and Zionist Jews. Beyond doubt, the harsh condemnations of all things Israeli and Jewish, the demonization and pejorative labels have trickled down from the ivory towers to the neighborhoods on the ground.


Though neo-Nazis, leftist anti-Zionists and Jew-haters within the African-American and Islamic communities often disagree, they are united in their animus towards Jews. There are today powerful forces arrayed against the Jewish people—not simply from the right, but predominately and with greater cultural influence from the political left.

Thus far, those in the establishment have been unable or unwilling to stop the daily harassment of Jews on campus and on New York City streets. Aside from the trauma of what we are witnessing on the streets, many in the Jewish community now rightfully acknowledge that we have a crisis in Jewish organizational leadership. Our major organizations—be it the ADL, the JCRC or many Federations—are failing us.

Furthermore, the loyalty of these cash-laden organizations with liberal/left ideology renders them unwilling to point to and combat the pernicious negativity against Jews coming from members within certain minority groups. Similarly, they are reluctant to condemn unequivocally the anti-Jewish rhetoric coming from groups within the Democrat Party, which is dangerously filtering down across the country and into the streets. That said, we maintain that at this juncture, anti-Semitism has not gripped the American heartland.

In light of this dereliction of duty, a “Jewish Leadership Summit” of experienced activists and grassroots leadership was convened to set forth a set of serious proposals to be discussed by local Jewish communities and individual Jews who want to protect America’s Jewish institutions and people. We can no longer wait. The history of these organizations, as well as the present make-up of their staff and bureaucrats, does not give us confidence. Moreover, it is a valued American tradition for grassroots movements and individuals to energize their sphere when establishment groups have grown tired and pre-occupied elsewhere.

The following recommendations from the summit are intended as a jumping-off point for Jews, as well as our non-Jewish friends, to begin a forceful and honest discussion as to what needs to be done by Jews for self-defense and protection. Consider it a “10-Point Declaration of Action.”


Promote the ethic and mitzvah of self-protection. Encourage Jews to be trained in legal self-defense measures, e.g., martial arts such as Krav Maga, boxing, jiu-jitsu, Legion Self-Defense, responsible firearm use and non-lethal weapons such as mace. Promote athletic and strength-building activities to instill a self-confident demeanor.


In addition to outside hired security guards, members of congregations should enroll in synagogue protection programs such as “Dr. Bob’s Be Prepared.” These volunteers will be “Synagogue Marshals” trained in the use of firearms.


Densely populated Jewish neighborhoods should establish patrols or shomrim organizations to constantly do walk-throughs on the streets. While we welcome the help of outside groups, it is incumbent that we bear a responsibility to protect our families. The image of a toughened neighborhood will discourage would-be perpetrators. Rabbis and Jewish educators should encourage such avenues of self-protection. Promote tax credits for community safety patrols and training.


Recruit pro bono lawyers willing to represent Jewish victims of attacks and harassment, as well as those Jews who fought back in self-defense and are now being sued by the perpetrators or prosecuted by government entities. 


Work against dangerous ideas such as “bail reform” and “justice reform” measures that release violent, hate-based criminals back to the streets free to re-attack, and give victims’ and witnesses’ names and contact information to criminals.


Do not fund candidates who either are unwilling to explicitly condemn anti-Semitism in and of itself, or candidates who align themselves with radical causes that culminate in anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric. Stop funding and donating to colleges that allow BDS movements on campus, student organizations steeped specifically in anti-Israel programming, or professors and departments pushing anti-Israel boycotts and maligning supporters of Israel. Stop giving to those Jewish organizations that consistently find fault with and criticize Israel, and elevate and “dialogue” with anti-Israel spokespeople. Do not fund groups or individuals that use incendiary language against Zionism and speak of “white privilege.” This incendiary language ends up fueling attacks against Jewish institutions and individuals, especially in urban neighborhoods.


So as to stop violence against Jews, it is crucial to identify those sources even if it comes from minority groups. There is an excess of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric coming out of the mosques and madrassas as well as militant segments in the black community. So as to be confronted they must first be exposed. Demands must be made of leaders in those communities to speak against anti-Jewish phraseology and to shun and ostracize those members engaged in it.


These attacks should not be whitewashed simply as a form of hate or intolerance or mental illness. It is specifically Jew-hatred. We cannot assume that those who speak against hate and intolerance are equally against anti-Semitism. Instead of the sanitized term “anti-Semitism” when speaking of attacks we should call it “Jew-hatred.”


The failure of establishment major Jewish organizations to effectively condemn or diminish the anti-Semitism on American campuses, in mosques, in certain minority neighborhoods, and among a host of “progressive” officials is due to their choosing leftwing politics over the needs of the Jewish community. This is a sacrifice that most sane Jews should not be willing to offer. The survival and safety of the Jewish People is the greatest of Jewish goals and values and must override the professed leftwing values that often collide with Jewish survival. Thus, it seems necessary for concerned Jewish citizens to not fully depend on the major Jewish organizations that very likely will malign and sabotage Jewish self-defense efforts that do not conform to the liberal/leftist goals prioritized by establishment organizations. A grassroots movement as well as courageous individual Jews will be needed to fight the battles that may reach our doorsteps.


Reach out to local, state, and federal law enforcement, first responders and government officials. Make relationships with local media outlets to ensure that attacks on Jews are accurately and consistently reported. Conversations with neighboring communities should not be done under an attitude of appeasement nor with the sociological guilt that too often dominates what poses as “dialogue.” They should be honest conversations, conducted with self-confidence and with an expectation, without excuse-making, for civil behavior. Excuses for anti-Semitism under a call for “understanding” should not be countenanced. Network with communal and civic organizations, community-based groups, and religious leaders, Jewish and non-Jewish. Respect the customs and culture of the community wherein you live.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is spokesman for the Conference of Jewish Affairs; author of “Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit”; president of Caucus for America; and a frequent commentator on Fox News.


  1. Just wondering, by printing this has Matzav now officially gone “secular”? Please name a single Gadol who says we should all learn martial arts! Does Matzav have a Rabbinic board??

    • No. Matzav are sanctimonious phonies. They’ll print any shtusim of hepach daas torah but they won’t show a picture of an isha chashuva who was nifter. The little kinderlach who run Matzav are little immature babies who are more concerned about shidduchim for their kids than for representing authentic Daas Torah. Pheh. They are like the chazir who puts its hoofs forward to show how frum and kosher they are (gotta get that good shidduch) but in reality they are as phony and treiff as can be.

    • Dear Wondering Shote, please name a single Gadol who says we should not learn of ways to defend ourselves. By the way, the author is promoting practical self defense systems, not necessarily traditional martial arts. Did you ask a shaila if you are considered a rasha or a shote for refusing to learn how to save Jewish lives?

  2. there is one issue that no one seems to be talking about: many of these attacks are being carried out by teenagers and kids just out of their teens. these people dont know jews from personal experience; picking on us just seems to be the ‘thing’ to do nowadays. what we are faced with is young people who are bored out of their skulls. they dont go to school, they dont go to work; they just get into trouble.

    my question is: why arent their millionaire leaders doing anything instead of blaming white supremacy for all the trouble their kids are in? why arent they giving monetary incentives to kids who stay in school? why arent their trips, sports, games they can do as a family? why arent there paid internships . paid for by the people who do have the money?..it takes a lot of gall to blame jews and whites for the failure of the black community when i know of no other group that gets jobs they are untrained for or university scholarships to study what they are unprepared for solely because of the color of their skin. werent jews at the forefront of the civil rights movement?

    i worked closely for many years with black educators they wanted their children to be polite, respectful, well educated, and support themselves and their families in an honest way. but it never occurred to many of my colleagues that they had a responsibility to others in their community. that sense of responsibility is a jewish trait

  3. Echos of Haskala and Zionism. Which Gadol is behind this?? There is one thing we need to do. As Rabbi Sorotzkin said (aired on Matzvav), we must remember that we are different then the goyim. We are being reminded to maintain our distance.

  4. Wondering: you want to know which gadol says you should defend your self, hashem is the gadol that tells you to kill someone b4 he kills you so is listening to get secular??

    • Habah lihorgecha hashkem lihargo means every Jew should learn martial arts??? Which Yeshiva/Rebbe taught you that??? Perhaps you should stick to Trump impeachment matters and leave understanding Torah to those a little bit more knowledgeable in Torah!

      • Deat 11:15am eisav brain, which yeshiva taught you petur from physically saving Jewish lives?! You are the kind of a jerk who would tell a starving Jew to do teshuva instead of giving him a loaf of bread. You are too much of an am hooretz to qualify as a rasha.

  5. There has to be some reasonable explanation for such a post to be posted.

    Bottom line is Eisav sonay es Yaakov is a Halacha. Antisemitism began in the days of our Avos and will never end until Moshiach comes. The more comfortable we begin to feel here in America, the stronger and closer the reminders will come that we are guests and this is not our home. Our reaction mandated in the Torah is simple. We are a nation only of Kol Yaakov – we are NOT Yeday Eisav. Heaven help us if we think our safest way is to act and protect ourselves with the actions of a yadayim yeday Eisav and not by increasing our kol kol Yaakov.

    • Dear 9:41pm, why not both: teshuva and hishtadlus?! If you insist on refusing to physically save Jewish lives because you are a supposed tsadik whose only input is “stop talking” while sanctimoniously watching Yiden burn, know that you are the biggest rasha. Perhaps I should be don lechaf zchus and assume that you are just a shote.

    • Dear 10:51pm One Brain Cell, how about daven and physically defend Jewish lives?! Your 75 point IQ doesn’t allow you to walk and chew gum at the same time?

  6. Dear 7:02pm unexused sanctimonious rasha, which Gadol is behind your passive murder of Jewish lives. Basically what you are saying is when a Yid is drowning, you will tell him to do tshuva, while refusing to throw him a floating device. What is your “heter”, dear rasha, for refusing to physically save Jewish lives?!

  7. “Rabbi Aryeh Spero is spokesman for the Conference of Jewish Affairs; author of “Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit”; president of Caucus for America; and a frequent commentator on Fox News”

    This guy doesn’t sound like a talmid chacham

    • Dear 2:33pm titled am hooretz, eize hu chachom halomeid mikol odom. Look at what is being said, not at who said it. Whatever the author’s status is, he said the emes in this particular article. We have a chiuv to physically defend Jewish life, and we should make every hishtadlus in this matter. Obviously, we should do teshuva and address the ruchnius concerns; in fact, both approaches – teshuva and the physical mitzvah of saving Jewish lives – are necessary, and one is impossible without the other.

      • Dear anonymous; instead of calling everyone a rasha, shoteh, am h’aretz….Do you even know which masechta discusses haba lihorgecha….kol haposel bimumo posel! (I don’t expect you to know what that means, Google it)

    • Agreed. However the problem is not with the Fox news Rabbi,(he probably wouldn’t know which side to open a gemara from) but rather with Matzav for posting it. They claim to be a frum website.

  8. My 2 cents:

    1. Hashem is sending subtle and not so subtle signs that it’s time for orthodox jews to leave the exile and return to ארץ הקודש

    2. The term Judeo Christian is an oxymoron: the Torah and Navi says that the law is eternal, the so called new testament contradicts this with evil replacement theology and the idea that in order to get to heaven, all you need is to believe that Gods son died for all mankind and abolished the eternal law

    To be Jewish means obeying the Torah

    To be Christian means just believe the irrational and get instant salvation

    The term Judeo Christian is a pernicious lie from post enlightenment neocons

  9. Dear 12:50am maskim to what? Who Spero is has nothing to do with the content of his speech. Are you maskim that Jews should make no physical effort to save Jewish lives, under pretence of being a baal emunah?! No wonder you are typing late at night, sitting in your mommy’s basement no doubt.

  10. To those who disagree with the Rabbi… they do so to deny reality that they are obligated by the Torah to protect Jewish life. The Torah to them is cholent, davening and learning (but not keeping) Torah. It is those who actually keep the Torah who are seeking out tools such as self defense to protect other Jews. To them Jewish life is precious and worth protecting. The ones who deny this is a Torah mandate (See S.A.C.M 425,426, O.C 329:6) are denying the Torah and reality facing Jews. In order to cover their embarrassment, they will either discredit the Rabbi, or his message. Dear Jew stop being afraid of strengthening your survival with hishtadlus, Torah is complex with multitudes of mitzvos, if you cannot bring yourself to accept reality, or conquer your fear, the first step to reduce your embarrassment is to listen to the message. Hishtadlus is not opposing emunah, and tefila and Torah and physical hishtadlus are all one not separate. The message is first and foremost to be a mentch, who will stand up and protect his wife and children and community from the street. If you can’t handle that, you have not yet learned the level of ahavas Yisrael this Rabbi is teaching. Do not be embarrassed that you lack this, instead dig into your Jewish neshama and you will find more love of Jews and seek ways to protect Jews in this world, so that your Torah and Tefila start to have real meaning.


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