LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There's a new push to keep houses of worship safe as many locals are preparing to spend a lot of time in churches and synagogues for the holiday season.
Following a string of attacks at houses of worship, a North Las Vegas man is teaching worshipers how to fight back.
"They're like sheep to the slaughter if they do not take action to protect themselves," said Doron Benbenisty.
Benbenisty is the founder and owner of Crisis Response International, a counter-terrorism training school that has been in the valley for more than a decade. But it is the first time that his students are congregants.
The new program is a reaction to the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh where eleven people were killed at the Tree of Life Congregation in October.
"It hit home even more so because it was a Jewish synagogue," said Rosalind Guilis.
After Pittsburgh, Guilis says her congregation, Chabad of Summerlin/Desert Shores, started asking safety questions.
"What happens if the backdoor is breached, how about the upstairs," Guilis said.
Benbenisty's has helped Guilis' congregation with an emergency plan - a coordinated strategy that includes learning how to disarm a shooter. Guilis has learned the maneuvers. She says she feels empowered. Right now, she is in the process of getting her own weapon.
"I have a husband, he has a gun, but I'm not with my husband 24/7," Guilis said.
Benbenisty says anyone can learn these potentially life-saving skills in a time when houses of worship are always under threat.
Benbenisty says that interested parties can visit his website here for more information.