The deadly terrorist attack in Israel and the torrent of social media threats that followed have forced many Jews to reconsider their long held stances against owning or using guns, reports NBC News. Henya Chein has always been terrified of guns. The Orthodox Jewish artist and mother of two felt uneasy about her husband’s decision to buy a handgun after they moved to Florida from New York last year. After watching the events unfold in Israel, she’s taken steps she never imagined herself ever taking. Chein, 26, attended a gun safety seminar at her synagogue last week followed by a one-on-one session at a local shooting range. “Even at the range, I just wanted to drop the gun and run back home,” Chein said. “I was so scared, and I’m terrified of it.” She felt “forced to do it because Jewish people are not safe anywhere now.” Firearm instructors and Jewish security groups have been flooded with new clientele since Hamas assaulted Israel on Oct. 7. Gun shop owners in Florida say they have seen more Jews purchase firearms in recent weeks than ever before. “We’ve definitely seen a tremendous increase in religious Jewish people, Orthodox people, purchasing firearms,” said David Kowalsky, who owns Florida Gun Store in the town of Hollywood, and also offers firearms training classes. “I’ve seen a surge in interest in individual training as well as group training.” Kowalsky, who is Jewish, said local synagogues had reached out to him to host gun training seminars and shooting sessions in the past week. At one gun safety seminar he hosted this past week, Kowalsky said, most participants were new to guns. “These are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them,” Kowalsky said. “There’s a safety concern. I think people are nervous about what’s going on and what can happen.” Rabbi Yossi Eilfort runs Magen Am, a nonprofit in Los Angeles that provides self-defense classes and firearm training to the Jewish community. He said they’ve received more than 600 calls in the last week.
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