NJ rabbi designs concealed-carry coat for Shabbat


This rabbi is really proud of his new “piece” of clothing.

Rabbi Raziel Cohen of Morris County, NJ, has designed a $550 kapota — the long jacket donned by married Hasidic men on Shabbat and holidays — meant to comfortably conceal a gun.

After he got married about two years ago and graduated to wearing a kapota, “I realized right away it was a problem,” said Cohen, 24, of the cumbersome garment, which is traditionally fashioned with buttons and a belt known as a gartel.

The issue: He couldn’t easily pull out the Glock 19 or Glock 17 he always wears during synagogue.

“When you draw a gun, you have to do it safely, quickly and efficiently — ensuring that it’s not a risk to the person drawing the gun or to those around him,” said Cohen, an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

So he designed a “Tactical Kapota” with quick-access snaps hidden under a decoy version of the buttons traditionally required for the jacket.

Rabbi Raziel Cohen has modified the Kapote to have snaps to allow for easier draw of a handgun.
Stephen Yang

“The buttons are definitely too time-consuming to undo,” he said, adding that “efficiency” is essential. “The snaps are safer. With this design, you’re able to expose the gun through those layers of material faster.”

Miami-based manufacturer Shaul Snovsky produces and sells the “luxury” kapotas. “People are calling me all the time for the product,” he said. “I’m not trying to sell anybody fear. You don’t want to be sheep going to the slaughter.”

Rabbi Raziel Cohen, 24, demonstrates his concealed carry of a Glock 19 under his Kapote, a traditional Jewish top coat.
A rise in anti-semitism and attacks on places of worship has inspired more Jews to carry weapons.
Stephen Yang

That’s a sentiment that’s spread across the Jewish community after Boston rabbi was stabbed multiple times outside a Jewish day school in July and a teenage student was gunned down and killed was gunned down and killed outside his yeshiva in Denver in August.

“The danger increased. I’d like to be safe and be in control — I don’t want to be a victim,” said Aaron, a 20-something Hasidic New Yorker who asked The Post to withhold his last name for safety reasons. “It comes down to a matter of seconds. That’s not enough time to call for help or rely on someone else.

“This kapota allows me to not waste time,” added the married father of young children, who said has a concealed carry permit.

Cohen, who does chaplain work in prisons, is also known as the “Tactical Rabbi,” as he is firearms instructor and founder of National Defensive Firearms Academy. He regularly videos to educate people on protecting themselves and staying safe and gun safety. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see him outfitted in tactical fatigues and a monogrammed bulletproof vest one day and his traditional black hat and religious attire the next.

Rabbi Raziel Cohen, 24, demonstrates his concealed carry of a Glock 19 under his Kapote, a traditional Jewish top coat.
Rabbi Raziel Cohen designed a $550 kapota.
Stephen Yang
Rabbi Raziel Cohen has modified the Kapote
Rabbi Raziel Cohen has modified the Kapote with snaps instead of buttons.
Stephen Yang

“People who think anyone who carries a firearm is a vigilante, that we’re looking for confrontation,” said Cohen, noting that drawing an actual firearm should be the last resort after exhausting every other layer of protection. “It’s not true. People are getting killed in synagogues and houses of worship — the places where we never want to be the most vulnerable, but are the most vulnerable. I don’t want to have a firearm in synagogue, but that’s a perfect world we don’t live in. It’s sad.”

Cohen, who holds a concealed carry permit in a handful of states, also holds a permit to own and purchase firearms and ammunition with a license in New Jersey. (There are firearms that are legally able to be stored in the synagogue, which the rabbi has access to.)

Given the recent rash of Jewish hate crimes around the country, including a spike this past spring stemming from unrest in Israel, tensions are high.

“Anyone who said they weren’t scared is lying,” said Cohen. “I’m not scared only because I’m prepared. We’re not trying to take over the role of law enforcement. We’re just trying to make sure that until we get there, we’re able to protect ourselves.”

Rabbi Raziel Cohen, 24, demonstrates his concealed carry of a Glock 19 under his Kapote
Rabbi Raziel Cohen, 24, demonstrates his concealed carry under his Kapote.
Stephen Yang


About the author


Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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