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UWI Exclusive: Armed Jewish Group Ramps Up Security in US with Help from IDF Veterans

United with Israel

Magen Am

Magen Am expands to protect Jews throughout America with lone soldier veterans program.

By Joseph Wolkin

Leibel Mangel is a man on multiple missions. The former Israel Defense Forces soldier is kickstarting a new program with Magen Am, an armed Los Angeles-based Jewish group that takes security into its own hands.

Mangel is the director of Magen Am’s lone soldier veterans program. This new effort will not only help ex-lone soldiers to adjust upon returning home, but also use their security expertise for the benefit of the Jewish community.

This new group within Magen Am will serve Jewish communities across the country, with guards heading to synagogues, Jewish centers and Jewish schools. Magen Am translates to “Nation’s Shield,” and that was seen first-hand during early June riots in Los Angeles, when the guards protected the area’s synagogues.

Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, is the director of Magen Am. He believes that now is the time, more than ever, to provide enhanced security to the American Jewish community, as anti-Semitic attacks have reached frightening levels. The organization launched a GoFundMe campaign, which aims to raise $50,000. The program is valued at $25,000 per soldier each year.

Mangel, who grew up in Cincinnati and completed his IDF service in 2015. discussed the new initiative with United with Israel.

How did you encounter Magen Am?

“About seven or eight months ago, I was in Los Angeles, and I was introduced to Yossi Eilfort. I had been working in the security industry in Cincinnati. We were looking for ways to collaborate at the time. In that meeting, we sat down and discussed this need to get lone soldiers involved… It fills the needs of the lone soldier veteran community as well as the security of the Jewish community. I got married – my wife is from Los Angeles – and we moved here [Los Angeles], and now I’m heading up this program.”

Why is this program important?

“There are two aspects to it. Many lone soldier veterans, like me, come back to the United States after our military service, and the reintegration process is a struggle. There is no clear sense of direction for many of us, or guidance, or a support system. In Israel, we had this tremendous responsibility of protecting Jewish life, Israel’s borders and her citizens. We come back to the States and that responsibility is taken away from us.

“Many people struggle with that. There’s a rise in drug overdose in the lone soldiers veteran community, as well as suicides. They need structure and guidance to get on the right path, giving them a foundation to succeed for the rest of their lives. This program will allow them to continue their sworn mission of serving and protecting Jewish life – here in the United States instead of Israel.

“The second need this program fills is to better protect the Jewish community. As we know, the threats, attacks and civil unrest against our community are on the rise. Many organizations like Magen Am have stepped up with civilian volunteers, putting them through training. Our most skilled and qualified protectors live within our community, but we’re not utilizing them. Why not allow soldiers to continue their training and use real-world experiences on the battlefield to be the first line of defense for the Jewish community?”

What’s the plan going forward for this program, which is starting from scratch?

“The program’s structure will be split up into three phases. The first phase will take about two months. We’re hoping to get about 10-14 soldiers in every single class. In the first two-month period, they’ll be heavily focused on security training and personal development side. Every Jewish community has its specific needs, and the rules and regulations of the security environment are a little different than in Israel and in a military environment. We’ll be focusing on getting soldiers mental-health counseling, life coaching, and allowing CEOs to come speak to soldiers and help them figure out what they want to do next in life.

They can continue [in the next phase] in the security industry, or maybe someone has an interest in finance and can build a relationship with a financial CEO. If there are two soldiers working at a Jewish day school, we’ll introduce them to their job sites as we get them the proper licensing and certification.

“Phase III is working at those jobs full time, whether it’s a synagogue, school, Jewish business, or patrols through neighborhoods. It’s the last nine months of a 12-month program… At the end of the 12 months, they can decide to stay in the security industry and make it a full-time career, whether in Magen Am or another organization. They can say they have a solid foundation and are ready to move on to a university. Or they can utilize one of the connections they’ve made to transfer into another industry.”

What cities are you targeting first?

Magen Am通过单兵退伍军人计划扩大保护整个美国的犹太人。

约瑟夫·沃尔金(Joseph Wolkin)

Leibel Mangel是一个执行多项任务的人。这位前以色列国防军士兵正在与武装的总部位于洛杉矶的犹太人组织Magen Am启动一项新计划,该组织将安全掌握在自己手中。

曼格(Mangel)是Magen Am的单兵退伍军人计划的负责人。这项新的努力不仅将帮助退伍军人在返回家乡后进行调整,而且还将利用他们的安全专业知识为犹太社区谋福利。

Magen Am内的这个新团体将为全国的犹太社区服务,警卫将前往犹太教堂,犹太中心和犹太学校。 Magen Am译为“国家之盾”,这是在6月初洛杉矶骚乱中的第一手资料,当时卫兵保护了该地区的犹太教堂。

混合武术战士Rabbi Yossi Eilfort是Magen Am的导演。他认为,随着反犹太袭击达到令人恐惧的程度,现在比以往任何时候都更需要为美国犹太社区提供增强的安全性。该组织发起了GoFundMe活动,旨在筹集50,000美元。该方案的价值为每名士兵每年25,000美元。

在辛辛那提长大的曼格尔(Mangel)于2015年完成了他的IDF服务。曼联与以色列讨论了这项新计划。

您是如何遇到Magen Am的?

“大约七八个月前,我在洛杉矶,后来被介绍给Yossi Eilfort。我曾在辛辛那提的安全行业工作。当时我们正在寻找合作的方式。在那次会议上,我们坐下来讨论了让单兵参与的这种需求……它满足了单兵退伍军人社区的需求以及犹太社区的安全。我结婚了-我的妻子来自洛杉矶-我们搬到了[洛杉矶],现在我要负责这个程序。”

为什么这个程序很重要?

“它有两个方面。像我这样的许多单身退伍军人,在我们服兵役后回到美国,重返社会的过程是一场斗争。对于我们许多人,指导或支持系统而言,没有明确的方向感。在以色列,我们肩负着保护犹太人生命,以色列边界和她的公民的巨大责任。我们回到美国,责任就从我们身上夺走了。

“许多人为此感到挣扎。孤独的退伍军人社区中的药物过量以及自杀事件都有所增加。他们需要结构和指导才能走上正确的道路,为他们一生的成功奠定基础。该计划将使他们继续在美国而不是以色列在美国服务和保护犹太人生活的宣誓使命。

“该计划满足的第二个需求是更好地保护犹太社区。我们知道,对我们社区的威胁,攻击和内乱正在上升。像Magen Am这样的许多组织已经加紧了平民志愿者,使他们接受了培训。我们最熟练和最有资格的保护者生活在我们的社区中,但我们没有在使用它们。为什么不让士兵们继续训练并在战场上利用现实世界的经验成为犹太社区的第一道防线?”

该计划从头开始有什么计划?

“该计划的结构将分为三个阶段。第一阶段大约需要两个月。我们希望每堂课能招募10-14名士兵。在头两个月的时间里,他们将专注于安全培训和个人开发方面。每个犹太社区都有其特定的需求,安全环境的法规与以色列和军事环境有所不同。我们将着重于为士兵提供心理健康咨询,生活指导,并允许CEO与士兵交谈,并帮助他们弄清楚他们下一步的生活打算。

他们可以继续在下一阶段的安全行业工作,或者有人对金融感兴趣,并可以与金融首席执行官建立关系。如果有两名士兵在犹太人的日间学校工作,我们将把他们介绍给他们的工作地点,以便他们获得适当的许可和证明。

“第三阶段全职从事这些工作,无论是犹太教堂,学校,犹太人企业,还是在附近地区巡逻。这是一个为期12个月的计划的最后9个月…在12个月结束时,他们可以决定留在安全行业,并使其成为全职工作,无论是在Magen Am还是其他组织。他们可以说他们拥有扎实的基础,并准备升读大学。或者,他们可以利用已经建立的联系之一转移到另一个行业。”

您首先定位哪些城市?

“第一轮比赛将在洛杉矶举行。

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