MV Hebrew Center to host gun violence forum

Hebrew Center will host a forum to discuss gun safety and prevention of gun violence.

M.V. Hebrew Center is hosting a forum on gun violence Sunday.

The Social Action Committee of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center will host a Forum on Gun Safety and Prevention of Gun Violence, Sunday, June 2, from 4 to 5:30 pm, at the M.V. Hebrew Center, 130 Center St., Vineyard Haven.

Following the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last October, the M.V. Hebrew Center hosted a Sabbath service that drew hundreds of people, many of them with no ties to the center, Robert Herman, chairman of the Social Action Committee and vice president of the Hebrew Center, explained.

During the Sabbath service, someone stood up and raised the concern that if you want to do something about this issue, there’s nothing locally on the Island that pertains to the community — no organized effort to inform, educate, or spread the word on gun violence, Herman said: “It inspired me to do something.”

The Social Action Committee reached out to Nan Garrison Logan, who is a representative from the Falmouth and Cape Cod Area Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. Garrison came to the center, and the Center joined the Massachusetts Coalition shortly afterward.

“Once we joined, it was, What can we do?” said Herman. “We could put our name on a letterhead, but we wanted to have a forum, and a chance for the public to come out and discuss. The mission of social activism is ‘Tikkun olam’ in Hebrew, which is to repair the world.”

The Social Action Committee wanted to hear voices from law enforcement, the education world and representatives of the school system, as well as their political representatives through this forum, so they reached out to folks around the Island community to participate, resulting in their well-rounded panel.

The forum will host guest speaker Janet Goldenberg, who is the chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and a seasonal resident of the Island. Goldberg will be joined by a panel set to include Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio, Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake, Dukes County Commissioner and student organizer Keith Chatinover, Edgartown School Principal John W. Stevens, and a MVRHS student leader, junior Alex Rego. The event will be moderated by Rabbi Caryn Broitman, with an open Q and A to follow.

“Of course, after this, we have hopes and dreams of what would come next,” Herman said. “There was a successful gun return program in Falmouth, we could potentially partner with local businesses” — but, he explained, that’s all hypothetical at this moment.

“We want to educate, and for people to walk out with a better understanding,” Herman explained. “Hopefully we can make the Island, and our little corner of the world, a little safer.”


  1. It is a bit distressing that this “well-rounded panel” does not include hunters and responsible gun owners.

    • One would think that both the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs police chiefs are “responsible gun owners”. Do you know for a fact that no one on the panel is a hunter? Sounds like you just want to react, rather than help.

  2. I am absolutely sure the two chiefs are responsible gun owners. I am also pretty sure they are on the panel to offer a law enforcement perspective, not that of a civilian gun owner. No, I do not know for a fact who is on the panel, but I do know who the paper listed as set to sit on the panel. Didn’t see any hunters. If there are, that would be wonderful. Please don’t mistake my views as those of right wing, gun-toting NRA members. In a perfect world, the way to stop gun violence is to eliminate all guns. Anyone who is not a hunter or gun owner can probably see no reason for this not to be the goal. I see no reason why a citizen needs a high-capacity, military style assault rifle, but I get all of my meat through hunting and I do not want that taken away. It is also my belief that way more effort and money should be directed at diagnosing and treating mental illness, especially in young people. This is the root cause of most mass violence and should be front and center in any discussion of school shootings that hope to reach viable conclusions. Any discussion on this topic is a good one, but it is a very complex problem. “Take away the guns, problem solved,” is an easy road to go down, but in our society it will never work. I think recent history as pretty well shown this. Let’s find real solutions.

  3. Stbg
    I agree with more intensive background and mental health checks 100%.
    As a competitive skeet shooter, avid gun owner and firearm collector your comment of take away all guns and you don’t see the need to own certain types of weapons is bizzare and totally left. Having you been sipping the Kool-aid with AOC? Only in a society of socialism would that ever happen. I’m proud to be an American and have the right to bear arms! Stay wrapped up in your “feel good” blanket because that will protect you from some mentally ill whacko violating your space unlawfully. Nationwide concealed carry with happen far sooner than taking away guns. Maybe you’d wanna buddy up with one of us right wing, gun toting NRA members when **** hits the fan.

    • Wow, you need to read more carefully. What I said is non-gun owners are apt to think that taking away all guns is the answer to gun violence. That is why I feel strongly that civilian gun owners and hunters should have a place on these panels. Taking away all guns is exactly what I am afraid of. Did you read the part about me getting all my meat from hunting? There is a very good chance I have more guns than you. Don’t need a high capacity assault rifle though. A short barrel 12 ga with #6 shot is the best weapon for home invasion and, at my age, I’m probably not going to need that AK-47 to play soldier, although I have drank my share of kool-aid.

  4. Its important to have accurate backround checks, mental health checks and a mechanism to take a firearm from someone who passed a mental health check years ago but is showing ‘warning signs’ as determined by a legitimate health and or law enforcement professional. As a life long law abiding citizen and firearm owner, I get a bit tired of the media ‘narrative’ that blames the NRA whose majority members are law abiding sportsmen and hunters. The federal laws against straw buyers and illegal transactions, if strictly enforced, would stop the stream of firearms from states with loose laws to places like Chicago, which has the strictest guns laws. And the feds wouldn’t plea bargain the charges the way the states do. The media fails to note that the inner city violence is perpetrated by those communities ‘acceptance’ that when a young man gets ‘disrespected’ on the street he can take his illegal gun and use it to enact revenge. And nobody helps find the shooter because in the community, ‘snitches get stitches’. With the breakdown of the family unit there is no male head of household to knock the crap out of the troublemaker, and he looks to the ‘street’ for guidance. When the mother has 5 unruly children from different absent fathers, this is the end result:: inner city gun violence. I’m sure all the feel-good liberals will flag this post, but facts are facts. Its a social problem not a gun problem. Try blaming the pencil when your child fails a test.

  5. Stbg
    Apologies if I miss read but your writing is a bit confusing. I’m glad your a gun owner but it seems like all the snowflake crowds are against certain types of firearms or “assault weapons” as your people like to say. It’s not the type of gun it’s the stability of the person in possession of that gun. If I wanna to rip off 30 rounds out of my AR it’s my right and my privilege as a responsible gun owner. Once again this is about more intensive background checking. Not so sure about your choice of home defense but to each his or her own.
    King Trump will never allow us not protect ourselves!

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