'And Then I Heard the Gun Click': What Happens When a Terrorist Enters a Synagogue

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Haaretz Weekly
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U.S. police responding to the 10-hour-long hostage situation at the Colleyville Reform synagogue on Saturday.
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Haaretz Weekly

January 15, 2022, began as a quiet Saturday morning for Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, then the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. When a stranger knocked on the synagogue’s glass door and inquired about a night shelter, Cytron-Walker performed an act of kindness: he invited the man inside and made him a cup of tea.

For the next 11 hours, the man, who happened to have a gun, held Cytron-Walker and several congregants hostage, demanding the release of an Al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist from prison and stating that Jews control the world.

Six months after the attack, Cytron-Walker joins host Amir Tibon to tell the incredible story of how he eventually threw a chair at the attacker and led his congregants in a run for their lives. He also discusses national lessons on guns, mental health and security, and reflects on how spending a year in Israel prepared him for that moment. The full interview with Rabbi Cytron-Walker starts at time code 08:20.

Earlier on the show, Haaretz reporter Sam Sokol talks about the escalating crisis between Israel and Russia following Moscow’s threat to shut down the Jewish Agency’s activities on its soil. Is Putin trying to punish Israel for its position on Ukraine? Is there any danger for Jews in Russia? And what can Israel do about this situation? Listen to the full conversation to learn more on the subject.

Special thanks to Dina Barrish for her contributions to this episode

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