Rabbi wants to arm members of synagogue with guns for safety reasons

BOSTON — After two shootings at synagogues nationwide, one local rabbi wants to arm members of his synagogue with guns.

"The recent shooting in California. The shooter came to the synagogue. It’s twice in 6 months. It’s alerting," said Rabbi Dan Rodkin, the leader of the Shaloh House in Brighton, a place where many of the Jewish faith come to pray.

On April 28, dozens of people were celebrating Passover at a synagogue near San Diego when someone opened fire. Authorities say 19-year-old John Earnest killed one and injured 3 others. This news still weighs heavily on Rodkin's heart.

After the California shooting and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 people dead, Rodkin now wants some of his members of the synagogue to be armed with guns.

"I think community members and citizens need to step up and do things that are necessary to protect our families, and ourselves," he said.

Rabbi Rodkin says he isn't living in fear. He just wants to make sure everyone is protected.

"It seems we have more and more anti-Semitic attacks. It’s important for the government to step in," Rodkin said.

After the mass shootings, the rabbi made changes to his synagogue.

"It’s becoming a concern and what I was saying, it’s hard for us to live normal lives, not to be afraid and not at services," Rodkin said.

There is now an elite camera system, bullet-proof windows and panic buttons.

"My message to the community is not to be scared. Just to be smart and alert, and prepared," Rodkin said.

The rabbi is asking the government to step in and protect them as well. He doesn't expect everyone to be armed, but at least 30 percent of the members here.

Rodkin said he himself is in the process of getting a concealed handgun license.

Shootings, however, aren't the only safety concern Jewish synagogues and rabbis should be aware of.

Police continue to investigate two suspicious fires that were set at a rabbi's home that also doubles as the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Arlington in mid-May.

In Needham, police are investigating a suspicious fire at a Chabad center that happened around the same time as the Arlington fires.