Photo Credit: Screen shot
I put the kids in the car. I am outside on the phone. I call again. Mercy of mercies, my wife answers. She is trembling as she speaks. “There’s a shooter, Shmuley, right outside a store we’re in. The salesperson saw him. He was carrying an AK-47, holding it in the air. We heard about 6 shots. We’re terrified. Where are you? Get out. Get out of the mall. Are the kids OK?”

His adviser proceeds to call me every few minutes and calls my wife as well. He is an angel from heaven. Debbie is calmer now because the sounds of the gunshots have subsided.

Suddenly the people in the parking lot are running as well. “Gun shots, gun shots,” they scream. I can swear I hear loud pops. I get into the car. I am driving in circles in the parking lot. I want to be safe with the kids, but I don’t want to leave the mall because my wife and daughter are inside.


I am calling my wife every minute, getting her to assure me she is OK and that her cell phone is not going to die. “Don’t leave me with no way to contact you and don’t leave where you are. And tell the people with you to speak softly.”

The children in the back of the car are crying. I am trying to assure them that their mother and sister are going to be fine. God is going to protect them. I tell them we have to pray. We recite Psalm 20 in Hebrew. We repeat it. I call my wife again. She is telling me she is OK and that there is no sound of gunfire. They continue to hide in the store room.

I drive out of the parking lot and reach a 7-11 so the kids can buy something and calm down. There is a woman outside shaking, speaking on her cell phone. She tells me she was in Nordstrom’s, heard all the shots, and ducked under the clothing and hid. She got out. Her family who was with her are safe. She asks if I have anyone inside the mall and I tell her. She tells me she prays my family will be safe.

On Twitter I spread the word of the shooting. I ask everyone to pray for the people inside without saying that my wife and daughter are there. I ask over and over again to pray generally that the people within should emerge safely.

I am calling my wife every few minutes. I am thinking to myself that America has gone crazy. This past Friday night, for Shabbat dinner, the main point of conversation of our guests was the terrible shooting in Los Angeles at LAX and the other shootings that week at schools. Now, we’re at the center of it. Could this really be happening?

My wife finally tells me that she thinks they are beginning to evacuate people. They can see scores of police outside the store. I tell her not to move until they come for her.

I get the kids back into the car and we drive to a parking lot overlooking the Garden State mall where we can see SWAT teams moving into the building and a growing police presence. There are helicopters overhead.

Senator Booker calls in terrible anxiety to ask if my wife is OK. At that moment, as if by a miracle, she calls on the other line and tells me that the SWAT teams have come to move them out. I connect the calls on my phone. Cory, ever the gentleman, tells my wife not to panic and he is so happy to hear she is OK. His warmth and caring comforts us both.

A few moments later my wife calls me to tell me she is safely out. SWAT members screamed to them to move out with their hands in the air. A military scene was all around her as they made them run out of the building. SWAT members, she says, fill the entire mall. The gunman is still at large and they are briskly moving people out, with bullet proof shields protecting them.

With heartfelt thanks, I begin reciting Psalm 91. “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High.” I also think to myself how incredible and brave the police are.

My wife and daughter are safe. It’s a miracle. Thank you, Oh Lord, for your kindness to me and my family, I say to myself. I will try and be a better person, a better servant of yours, Oh Lord. Thank you, Lord, for Your protection and goodness.


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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, "America's Rabbi," whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books including his most recent “The Israel Warrior.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


  1. First of all, thankfully the Rabbi’s family was safe and the only casualty was the crazy guy.
    Second, if our society focuses on the guns as culprits of crimes and not the nitwits who abuse them we may see many more incidents like this.
    As noted in the article, the police wasn’t there. They don’t have a duty to do so. As law abiding citizens we need to recognize the perils of free societies. Malls and schools are but a couple of examples where deranged criminals focus because they provide target rich environments and likely no resistance. Be prepared to fight, not just succumb to complacency and the false believe that the police will protect you

  2. If someone tried this at the Mallacha mall g-d forbid, he would be shot by Armed CITIZENS in seconds.
    But NJ has strict laws that prevent citizens from protecting themselves And as you can see the police can not and will not be there to protect you in times of need.
    So… Make Aliya where you are meant to be and safest.

  3. An armed society is a polite society; it is shameful to cringe in fear because you can't or won't defend yourself…disgraceful even! Get a gun, learn how to use it and keep it near and dear to you and yours…and quit bemoaning what others are armed with…certainly criminals don't care what the law says or what you think it 'should' do!

  4. A person intent on killing will use another weapon if a gun is not available. It is not the gun that is at fault, it is the person who is using the gun who is at fault. I'm not sure how we identify such people, nor what is causing them to become so violent. When I was growing up, this type of violence was not a problem. Something is different now, but I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps it's the disintegration of society caused by the disintegration of the nuclear family and the "normalization" of evil in today's society.

  5. Ms Caplan is partly correct in saying that it is not the gun at fault. What she fails to say is that the fault lies with a constitution which in the 21st century gives people the "right" to own guns with which they may kill their fellow citizens. What;s wrong with this picture folks???

  6. The fault is not with the gun but the one who holds the gun. There is no object or invention in this world that doesn't have serious consequences upon being misused, including computers and internet! Reb Shmuley, after learning the lessons of the Holocaust how can you possibly call for an end to gun ownership?? Would you disarm an entire nation because of the actions of only a few??

  7. Barbara Glasner- Yes Rabbi Boteach the Word of God is true and it works in the time of crisis. I have also been in times when I called on the name of the the Lord and he helped me through awful situations. Praise His Name! I am glad you are safe .

  8. Messiah has come time to turn to Him Daniel 9 explicitly states that He had to come before the destruction of The temple ! Not sure G-D has a Son check the scriptures proverb 30:4 and psalms 2 . The plan of salvation is reveled in the meanings of the names in descending order in Genesis 5 Trust G-D He has proven His faithfulness Israel is a nation as He promised !

  9. Because we closed all the state hospitals, cut back on all the mental health funding and released all these people into the community with no resources or facilities to treat or care for them!! And then people wonder what is happening……

  10. If they were all returned to the state mental hospitals where they belong then all will be well, and they WON"T be able to get guns whether or not they are intent on shooting. But alas bleeding heart liberals or whoever decided it was in the mentally ill's best interests to release them into society where they are not equipped or able to function or to live normal lives and end up committing crimes as this. When will people make the connection between cutbacks to mental health services and the closing of the state hospitals and all the school, and mall shootings and other craziness going on in this country is the question? Is anyone even trying to figure out why all of this is happening? When someone is a danger to others they need to be removed from the 'others' so they can do no harm. The state hospitals served this purpose.

  11. No Monica, what is different now is that the state hospitals have been closed and mental health funding has been cut back tremendously so now there are no suitable places for mentally ill people to receive treatment and services as before. Someone decided it was best to release the mentally ill into the communities however they did not think to provide the care and treatment that the mentally ill require. I have been a psychiatric nurse for 30 years, 30 years ago there were services and inpatient hospitalization for those who were considered a 'danger to others'; and they were not released into the communities until the staff and psychiatrists felt that they were no longer dangerous. It is totally different now; I saw it start to change in the 90s and it has gone down hill ever since. With so little understanding of mental illness in our society no one seems to be making the connection that is so obvious to me. Some people will never get better and need hospitalization to protect society all of their lives. But the push for 'patient rights' went way overboard and now the mentally ill have rights that allow them to do all these shootings, etc.

  12. The questions is…why do we still resist sane gun regulations? Not all shooters alee insane, not all shooter should be in mental hospitals…and as long as we use that as our excuse for not passing sane gun laws we put our children and loved ones at risk every day. Israel has some of the strictest regulations on guns in the do all other sane countries…while we still allow the NRA and gun idiots to run around yelling about the 2nd amendment and allowing mass shootings daily here

  13. There is no security in Israel!! Ginsberg watch your local Tv stations as Chadashout Ahsahre(10)(2)Mabat! We see live broadcasts from Israel, Arabs murdering Jews. And Jewish criminals,and Jewish crime families,shooting bombing each other and innocent bystanders as last and this week in Ashkolon. Since Rabin surrendered to the PLO your governments have lost control of the streets! This week in a room in the knesset, a committee hearing about allowing Jews to pray on the Har HaBayit,the Arabs present broke into a riot, stating there is no Har Bayit(THE HOLY TEMPLES NEVER EXISTED)and if Jews pray there, an Intifidah will ensue. The chairwoman was threatened by the Arabs in the Knesset"OVER YOUR DEAD BODY"if Jews dare pray there! The committee had a number of kippah wearing men,only one mildly protested and the Arab Mk told him to shout up! Barbara what about the thousands of Jewish women who were abducted by Arabs are forced into Islam and intermarriage? They are kidnapped into Judea/Samaria,Gaza strip and Sinai dessert! Others are sold as sex slaves. You are at fault! Where is the Jewish spring in Israel!

  14. By Israeli statistics since 1948 over 23,000 uniformed(poice,soldiers,shabak,mossad) Jews were murdered by Arabs! How many thousands of Jewish civilians were murdered by Arabs since 1948? Jewish elderly are being beaten by Arabs and by some Jews, in house breakins! In Israeli hospitalsthe doctors and nurses are physically attacked(Only secular Israelis ).. Every Wednesday go to 10;00AM and 6:00PM NEW YORK TIME. Watch Judaism! Scroll down to bcat Tv Network, click on it,on new window scroll to channel two screen, and click on the inside arrow! Enjoy!

  15. The doctrine of hypocrisy, live and do as it does and if you get an ignorant following you’ll prosper. PRO 30: 11-14 WISDOM 5:8 Now you see the reason for most of your unpleasant seasons of the mind, self inflicted blows. Where are the wounded soldiers? And instead of whining about a meager diet ask and pray for the help to live it, you’ll be glad you did. NUM 21:5

    The scriptures speak about a new heart are you willing to investigate?

    What is it to be sanctified? Have you truly been born again? It is an experience! That you will never forget and will change your life forever. The HOLY SPIRIT is sent to live within you and enlighten you in every sense of the word. It is not an intellectual decision. Some churches will say that if you said a certain prayer that they believe you’ve been born again. But that sounds like their decision?

    And it sounds like they have tried to belittle and make light of a very awesome experience!! What is spiritual maturity? Slow careful consideration, especially about life. How long can you be still and take time to listen? The Sabbath would discover that. ISAIAH 30:15 Are you content with reading the HOLY BIBLE? Prudence is also a mark of maturity, PRO 22:3, 27:12

    And be careful of what you tell others they may hear the results of your own disobedience. How many books have revealed that truth? PRO 27:22 See how fast they fall, ever heard of a meat diet? Sirach 20:18 Prudence and discretion keeps discerning minds from learning the hard way, painful experiences. Anyone ever had a succession of painful experiences? PS 107

    A discerning mind would recognize the reason for the first one and learn from your mistake.

    And We all have made mistakes, but what a JOY it brings when we learn from them. Does it really take a painful succession of melancholy experiences before you learn from them? Or is it still a riddle to you? A DISCERNING mind can avoid, the sinner’s troubles! A discerning mind can avoid the lash, and maybe now the drunkard will. LK 15:1-7, 21:34 Stay sober and wake up. People in the world live with a terrifying battle against ignorance.

    Why pollute your own body not to mention your kids. Feed them toxins and chemicals and YOU turn them into a toxic dump. Remember the day may come when they ask why, and what will it cost you then? How do you bury a loved one? A full plate, a full glass and latter, you kiss the coffin very sad. What could be worse? Please read, Filling the kids with flesh and fast food is like the kiss on the cheek. Is a mother’s love a test? OR, a sure thing. Motherhood could be a test of character and an opportunity to be a wholesome influence.

    A promoter of good health and well being to the mind and spirit.

    Would you throw dangerous appetites at your children in the hopes of obtaining more of the humbled dollar?? What’s the parents hope then? That by the time the child realizes that he or she has a choice their minds are to dull and insensitive (APATHY) to care about life and what they eat. You might say not true. But do you, prove that to be true? And so goes another depraved and corrupt, materialistic generation. ILL, Diseased and rusty souls, minds.

    How much value do you put on life? What do you treasure? What do you get serious about? What about your kids? What you eat and drink would reveal how much you value the life you’ve been given. Some may have to reveal how much they value life before they taste the Spirit! And if you’ve been born again then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Click on user name for more

  16. Life is like a journey and for those who chose too they go to the next level. Kind of like an elevator. You can be an object lesson for good or bad. What is the gay life about? Type the words gay sites on yahoo. Are they playing havoc through-out the earth ? They've been let loose. If there's a struggle for your soul which side is winning ? What kind of friend would say your way is ok but DARE not do the same.

    Try asking them why wouldn’t they. Sex" – has the ability to lead the confused, give refuge to the fearful and consume the weak. ( it can be like a drug, when people become consumed in the flesh) = homosexuality. Some people like an uncouth liberal tv will search your heart test your worth and challenge your character, I hope you pass.

    The tv has a target, you. It's goal to take you down to it's level. And if you've watched any tv at all then you've seen a lot of UNCOUTH unadulterated ignorance, called humor and affectation. Anything else you would like to bind them with ? A little spiteful behavior and sex would make them fit for Sheol.

    Why not take a break and listen 2 some music, (something’s got to change, josh wilson, utube) And Type, Gungor beautiful things) And , type, Tumes, healing waters youtube. and a favorite Nicole C Mullen, when I call on JESUS, youtube. And something else to remember. The Bible was not written for the fool, it was written for those who would have to deal with them. And the only people who end up in sheol are those who make that choice.

    And for people who like music, Brandon heath, give me your eyes, utube and Francesca Battistelli, This is the stuff, utube, and Nicol sponberg, resurrection youtube. And Jeremy Riddle, SWEETLY BROKEN youtube . And there is a blog you could read type, blog youneed toread, type as two words critical. Now When you take a look at all the uncouth ignorance, anger, violence, and spiteful behavior that's seen on tv. And add a bunch of Violent, Violent games to that.

    IT actually looks like and sounds like their all being trained for it. When you have news channels praising them and parents watching it at home then why should the kids view as something wrong ? Do you have a thesaurus look up uncouth. And i know there just games and movies but what an IMPACT.

    Who would of thought ignorance would be something to laugh at ? And violence something that mature adults would praise ? MATURE ? ? Why would some parents lead their kids to violence, uncouth ignorance and even the witchcraft that's seen on tv ? Unless your preparing them for something ?

    The t v is producing a bunch of violent, UNCOUTH, spiteful DOLTS. Anyone ever said something about drunks or drug addictions? What about cell phones? Just a simple minded observation. You couldn’t use the word mature to define an adult who goes thru life with a phone in the hand.

    Looks like some hands found something else to play with. Are they playing havoc through-out the earth ? They've been let loose. The tv will search you're heart test you're worth and challange you're character. When you break with the precepts of the law you become self-confident. Living and doing as they please. PSALMS 36 And a few more songs, try Crystal Lewis, Beauty for ashes you tube, a reference to fasting.

    And Crystal Lewis you tube, Only FOOLS, The title alone should lead you to listen if not the Truth of the words. And for some enlightening debates click on user name. Now that yahoo has changed its format i had to find an old site. So if you would like to read the debates go to Unorthodox Celeb Moms and click on youneed .

    And From 9-11 to a warmer climate? Some people might not agree with some of the things mentioned in this letter but I’m sure there’s something most of us would agree on.

    LET’S bury deceit and pray for healing.
    Has anyone been looking for some signs of the times? WHY? When you should be a living one. After reading this some people might think that they have been left behind. I would say probably not. Unless it’s a choice that YOU make. SOUNDS like another opportunity. Think of how many you have shared the Gospel with or how many you could share the Gospel with, Freely.

    The Gospel is about helping people to be what they were created to be. Regardless of what they use to be. And how freely we can share the Great news of the GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS And I would feel very sorry for ANY who would try to hinder you. But that one thought could bring about the final search, of the heart. Because it leads to an interesting question.

    How would you live if you thought you were left behind? Would the true heart be revealed and hope for another chance? And something to keep in mind ! When seeking the GOD of compassion JESUS you need to have a heart of humility. And everyone thoughtful and loves life holds him in AWE.

    Or your living a life that’s unpredictable. More about that later. Can you survive on a roll a day? That’s Awesome, AY. Do you know what the Biblical plan is for your future. You would have to read the HOLY BIBLE to discover it, or you could read all the other books out there? The day will come when you will realize that all those books and movies where nothing more than more distractions.

    Obstacles to true devotion. And some churches are a very big part of them. Don’t believe it? Let’s read. A theater like some churches are places of idol worship. And what are the consequences of idol worship, unpredictable life? How do you defend such places? You could try a warning. And when your really trying to help why with hold it from anyone. And when you find people who are willing to help it makes a short work of deceit. Please read BOOK OF WISDOM 14:25, 15: 12

    Warnings given long ago are very relevant today! And if you missed it child abuse was mentioned there. I’ve actually heard the church call it, Petty gossip. Ask one of the victims. Do you know what some churches are afraid of? That the eyes of the congregation would be open.

    What some should be terrified of is the day it comes true.
    A house with no idols says, I love you JESUS. Is your church telling you how to overcome the struggles of the flesh? Or is it still in agreement with a code of silence? You see some churches thought everybody would do the same, dummy up, for the right price. Is your church without excuse? For more read the blog

  18. Yes, Rabbi! You should seriously consider on Aliya program! Beautiful people with soul live there. Israel has soul. I returned after two weeks and I love Israel. Thats where you and your loved ones belong! The safest place on earth with IDF and Yeshua as their Commander-in-Chief!

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