Guns in our synagogues | The Response


Last month, we asked two community members to offer a response to this statement: “To carry or not: Guns in the synagogue.” And we challenged readers to give us their viewpoint.

This is a new feature called “The Conversation,” Jewish Rhode Island’s effort to foster civil dialogue in the community.

When you start on a journey you never know quite where it will take you and that is the case here. We heard from a lot of readers who chose not to “put pen to paper.” We hope that future topics will result in more responses and you see that we can have a conversation that’s beneficial to all.

Next month’s topic will focus on climate change. If you would like to be contacted to offer your viewpoint on this or future topics, or if you have a suggestion for a future topic, please contact us at



Mark Binder:

Let me start by saying that I love the idea of “The Conversation.” One of the challenges of today is the inability of people with different view points to express themselves in a forum where both can be heard. I’ll also mention that I favor gun control legislation, assault weapon bans and stricter sentencing for any crime involving a gun. With those caveats, I thought that Jeffrey Gladstone’s article in this week’s pairing was a cop out.

I understand his reluctance to create controversy. But the entire point of “The Conversation” seems to be about contrasting views that oppose each other. Instead we have David Leach’s eloquent rebuttal to an article that says little.


Nina Tannenwald:

I actually thought both these pieces came out against guns in synagogues. Gladstone very indirectly – both by not arguing the case for guns but also in his comment that a lone gunman does not present an existential threat to Jews. Rather, the real threat to Jews, he says, is division in the Jewish community.




Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Covering both opinions by Jeffery Gladstone and David H. Leach, I think they are both right. We have to come together as Jews, particularly at this time of year. However, the idea of congregants carrying guns is not a rational idea. The respective law enforcement agencies are trained in this area, and they should be the ones who handle security for synagogues.

It is quite clear that there are already too many guns held by civilian Americans. This Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, let us focus on the Unesaneh Tokef by Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, Germany, recited over a thousand years ago, as he lay dying in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. Read this story in the Artscroll Machzor and then talk about security.

Moses Mordecai Twersky

Providence, R.I.

The Conversation, The Response