My name is Valerie Smylie. It is my honor and privilege to establish this website, as it has been a work in progress in my mind for countless years.
I grew up non observant. With time, and learning, I found a very special love of Yiddishkeit that led me to live a more Torah observant lifestyle.
As this love of my Jewishness increased, so did my concern for the well being of my fellow congregants, neighbors, friends and family. With the daily news feed including numerous accounts of Anti Semitism, Anti Israel and Anti Zionism rhetoric, I contemplated how my family and community would fare were we to be victimized by an incident of terrorism or hate mongers racing into our shuls and schools. As a peace-loving woman, I let this thought drift about in my mind, until the untimely passing of my husband, Dovid.
There are endless tasks that a widow takes on: Provider, protector and sole decision maker. Nurturer was all I knew. And then came the removal of my husband’s pistol from his special spot. I couldn’t touch it. I was sure it was going to fire as soon as I touched it. I made the brave choice to take a women’s beginner gun safety class. Not only was I able to overcome my fear of guns, I was able to get competent instruction and further training so I would actually feel comfortable wearing one.
I now carry a gun discreetly, and am grateful that I have never had an incident where I’ve had to remove it from its safe hiding place. This would not be in my purse! It’s the first thing a perpetrator would grab from behind you in a parking lot. As a gal that wears long skirts, I found I had an advantage as to a great place to keep a concealed, but available means, to protect my kids. And myself.
So, for the last two years, I have been organizing self-defense courses for my Jewish community. We are nearing 250 community members that have attended a gun safety course. With our small, but expanding community, that is a huge number. My newest project is Gun Safety for Educators. The instructor is a former Phoenix Police officer, and has always accommodated our community members’ needs.
I am also working with a Krav Maga studio to do group classes for our community.
My goal? I want to see every Jew have the confidence and know how to react defensively and properly was there to be any unexpected incidents that could result in loss of life, or lives. No conspiracy theories or war mongering thoughts.
And I love all of my non-Jewish friends and family as much as my Jewish tribesmen. I like the idea of all peaceful, G-d fearing people not falling victim, ever, to the daily revelations of terror and those who support suppressing anyone’s freedom. What a blessing to live in America.
May we all live and be well and know safe lives for all those we love and know.