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A man wields a machete in front of the “Zone” camp of Oorah

By 08/10/2023 12:02 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


The nonprofit Kars4Kids is arguing for arming workers by referencing an incident that happened outside of their Jewish camp in upstate New York.

A staff member at The Zone, the Orthodox Jewish camp that Kars4Kids runs in Gilboa, New York, through Oorah, its Jewish education charity arm, was confronted by a man who was apparently brandishing a machete on July 23.

According to Robert O’Malley’s sworn July 30 statement, which the Jewish Telegraphic Agency obtained, he was directing buses out of the camp that morning when a man driving a green Jeep Cherokee wearing a Coast Guard veteran cap started yelling at him to “get the ** off the road.”
According to the statement submitted to the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office, the man brandished a huge knife when O’Malley motioned for him to approach.

A man is seen holding up a machete through the open window of his automobile in a picture that is included with the complaint. O’Malley stated in the complaint that “this male’s actions made me fearful and scared.

The lawsuit makes no mention of the man’s comments on the camp or the campers’ Jewish identity, which were settled amicably. Eliohu Mintz, the CEO of Oorah and Kars4Kids, and a member of the staff are suing the state of New York over its concealed carry laws, arguing that the restrictions make staff and kids more susceptible to antisemitic attacks. The legislation forbids private individuals from possessing firearms in some areas.

The machete incident “vividly illustrates the very real, imminent, and pressing need for the staff of the camp to be properly armed,” Wendy Kirwan, Kars4Kids’ head of communications, wrote in an email to JTA.

Kirwan claimed that campers were there when the incident occurred. The first session of the camp ended on July 23. Religious institutions in New York are permitted to have armed security personnel, but the Kars4Kids officials who are contesting the law are not part of the security personnel.

The staff member, Eric Schwartz, claimed in the judicial challenge to the state law that he had experienced antisemitic occurrences because he is “easily recognizable and identifiable to the public” as an Orthodox Jew. Schwartz resides year-round on the camp grounds.

Jewish security experts, who have recently focused more on the summer camp industry, have claimed that arming everyday Jews is ineffective as a deterrent to antisemitic crimes. A request for an update on the complaint’s status was not responded to by the Schoharie County sheriff’s office.


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bobby bracros

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