Well, that didn’t take long.
Last night at the huge synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a young student was stabbed badly in the side of the face. Levi Rosenblatt is in Serious to Critical condition. His “off his meds” attacker is dead, at the hands of the NYPD.
The attacker had driven in his mother’s car all the way from Long Island earlier in the day, and after acting very odd, asked to leave. He came back at 1:30 in the morning with a kitchen knife.
The shul at 770 typically has a couple of cops in a squad car sitting out by the median and a Shomrim (guardians) van around the corner. This facility sees literally thousands of people come and go at all hours of the day and night for study, inspiration, and prayer.
Demographics are such that a dramatically more dangerous neighborhood starts literally two blocks away. So, as the saying goes; “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away”.
I will not criticize the NYPD response. They got there pretty quick, and after prolonged attempts to get the perpetrator to drop the knife, shot him.
A little more problematic is the strangely quick, official Lubavitch spokesperson’s response that “it is not a case of terrorism”. Just a few weeks after the slaughter at Har Nof? An “off his meds” guy drives all the way from Long Island with a kitchen knife to the world headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch chasiddic movement, and stabs a student at 1:30 in the morning? Yeah. Just one of those random things. Like a hangnail. Or, a flat tire. Move along, now. Nothing to see here.
The real lesson here is quite simple. Ultimately, you cannot delegate self-defense. Dying Kiddush Hashem (in sanctification of G-d’s name) is far too big a habit for Jews. We do it all the time. We’re really good at it. We have a backlog of those who have so died good for the next few thousand years, don’t you think?
What better place than Crown Heights, Brooklyn … smack in the middle of New York City … to start reversing this deadly situation? Starting today, quietly arm yourselves. Seek out competent instruction and guidance. Get a shotgun in every home. Learn Krav Maga. Get a knife of your own. Run the NYC gauntlet and get a handgun.
Yes, I know there are legal and practical impediments, but the real problem is between our ears. Start there.
Update: Some good news… http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=33163&alias=wounded-770-bochur-wakes-up