Remi Franklin, a jujitsu aficionado, stood guard next to an Orthodox shul in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles on Shabbos as members began to walk home after davening.
Franklin and other volunteers have offered their services to escort Jews on the streets if they feel unsafe, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A day after the vicious attack on Jews at a sushi restaurant by an Arab mob last week, Franklin, who is Jewish, offered his assistance on Instagram: “If anyone in the Jewish community in greater L.A. is concerned about walking to Shul or home … I’ll walk with you.”
“Just ask,” he wrote. “I don’t care the day, hour or time. … Since nobody will step up … I will, my friends will and your community will.”
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Franklin told The Times that there was a huge reaction to his offer of assistance and groups of volunteers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are now acting as security guards for Jews in LA, in other states, and even abroad.
“It’s jiu-jitsu, it’s boxing, it’s mixed martial arts, and it’s people that are just friends with them and want to do something,” he said. “We have ladies who are former dancers and gymnasts who are walking with people because it makes the women feel more comfortable.”
“These people are just here to enjoy family and walk to shul and walk home, and they should have that safety,” he said.
Some of the volunteers outside the shul on Shabbos stood on the sidewalk offering to walk people home and others guarded the shul more discreetly from their parked cars.
Franklin walked an 80-year-old rabbi and his grandson home on Friday night since they were scared to walk alone and the rabbi asked Franklin to return on Shabbos morning to walk them to shul and he did so.
“Why does he need this? What did any of them do to deserve this?” Franklin said.
Another volunteer who escorted Jews home on Shabbos is actor Jonathan Lipnicki, 30, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt who has trained in Muay Thai and is the grandson of an Auschwitz survivor.
“A lot of people are definitely scared,” he said. “It’s a scary time for the Jewish community.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)