SAN DIEGO — Armed with his beliefs and heavy artillery, Rabbi Raziel Cohen - known as the "Tactical Rabbi" - is encouraging synagogues to re-think their line of defense when it comes to fighting back against anti-Semitic attackers. Rabbi Cohen shared more with News 8 about his unique approach to self-defense.
Raziel Cohen is a defense expert, but that's just one of his titles as he's also a man of God - an ordained Rabbi. He brings together those dual roles in his approach to teaching self-defense during a mass shooting. Cohen is based out of Los Angeles but has been making the rounds in Southern California including spending some time in San Diego.
“Although I want to focus on the positive, we do need to prepare to be on our best level to deal with these types of situations,” said Rabbi Cohen.
He is certified by the NRA and is the founder of the National Defensive Firearms Training Academy providing weapons and defense training to military and law enforcement. Rabbi Cohen recently extended his services to civilians after seeing a need. And since last month’s deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway, he's been hosting events at places of worship.
"I've always been involved with that kind of lifestyle of giving back to the community, but I just took a different approach in the aspect of protection,” said Cohen.
The rabbi says safety starts with a security audit of any building. He also says there are several steps to mentally and physically prepare for the possibility of defending against an active shooter. During his seminars, he'll often display and dismantle an AR-15 – a semi-automatic rifle.
"I'm a reality-based trainer which means I'm going to bring in things that are being used to ensure houses of worship know what they are going up against and how to prepare for those situations," Cohen said.
While some would call his methods controversial, Rabbi Cohen says there is nothing controversial when it comes to preserving peace and saving lives.
“If human life is priceless, we should start putting some money into our own personal protection, to protect our communities, because we don't want this to happen,” he said.