As a leader, I am constantly asking myself in any difficult situation, “What is the right thing to do?” When considering the painful events from yesterday I feel we must act with the Jewish community in mind, using Tikkun Olam as our guiding star.
It is important to mention how our local, state, and national partner organizations are working towards Tikkun Olam during this difficult time. The state and national organizations I highlight below have issued statements on how their leadership views yesterday’s attack on democracy. However, I wanted to give you a brief glimpse of what these organizations engage in regularly, beyond the words of their statements.
Locally, our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) continues to build a robust program addressing issues that impact us greatly, including antisemitism, food insecurity in the greater Dayton area, and racial injustice. As part of their goal to EDUCATE-ADVOCATE-ACT, JCRC has created Community Conversations as a way to bring issues to light. The next Community Conversation, Food Insecurity in Dayton: What We Should Know and What We Can Do, will take place on Tuesday, January 26th at 7pm. You can click here for more details.
At the state level, Ohio Jewish Communities (OJC) represents Ohio’s eight Jewish Federations, their partners, and agencies on a range of state, federal, and international issues that impact our Jewish communities. Howie Beigelman, executive director, always advocates across the aisle on behalf of our Jewish communities. Thanks in part to his actions, we have been able to secure safety and security grants, as well as the recent unanimous passage of SB 372, to create the Ohio Holocaust & Genocide Memorial & Education Commission.
Nationally, the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) is the network hub of 125 local Jewish community relations councils and 16 national Jewish agencies, that “builds Jewish unity and advocates for a just and pluralistic America, Israel’s quest for peace and security, and global human rights.” Currently, JCPA provides a space for educating ourselves and the community on how to build a more inclusive society. In fact, yesterday I participated in a riveting JCPA webinar hosted by the Inter Jewish Muslim Alliance. National Muslim leaders talked to Jewish professionals about anti-Muslim and antisemitic issues within our own communities and how we can work together to understand and support each other.
Of course, we can’t forget to mention the Secure Community Network (SCN). Nobody keeps an eye on local, national, and global antisemitic activities like SCN. This critical organization is laser focused on what is going on in our Jewish world, and quickly establishes ways in which our communities can remain safe and secure. After yesterday’s insurrection, for example, SCN reviewed the events as seen through a Jewish lens, including one individual’s highly disgusting sweatshirt mocking the Holocaust.
These organizations, and many others, help ensure that our Jewish communities remain vibrant, strong, and safe. Our work continues each and every day.
I know, like many of you, we are praying for the leaders of our country and for all of us to move forward as one in peace, strength, and democracy.
Below are yesterday’s statements from OJC, JCPA, and SCN:
Ohio Jewish Communities echoes the sentiments of every member of Ohio’s Congressional Delegation as well as Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, Attorney General Yost, Auditor Faber, Treasurer Sprague, Secretary LaRose, Senate President Huffman, Speaker Cupp, State GOP Chair Timken, and so many state legislators. This is not the way of peaceful protest but a foundational assault on our Republic. As a Jewish community we are all too aware where such lawlessness and disregard for life and property – no matter the underlying political affiliation or ideological beliefs – ends.
We agree with Governor DeWine who called this “an affront to our Constitution and everything we hold dear,” as well as Auditor Faber who said, “Mob violence has only one end: anarchy.”
We are grateful for the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Secret Service, the DC National Guard, and the other law enforcement and emergency response professionals who protected our elected officials today, while defending democracy and its institutions. We do not often think of the sacrifices they make and the dangers they face each day. But today, in an hour of national crisis, these true patriots answered the call.
As we do each Sabbath, we pray for Heaven’s guidance and protection of our nation’s leaders.
JCPA strongly condemns the violent insurrection at the United States Capitol Building. This was a direct assault on our democratic process, and nothing less than an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transition of power in a presidential election and an act of sedition.
We urge in the strongest possible terms that President Trump and others immediately cease incendiary rhetoric and restore order. We urge members of Congress and other responsible elected officials to speak out against the violence and immediately cease all rhetoric questioning the legitimacy of the election. Those who have broken the law must be held accountable for their actions. We thank Capitol Police and law enforcement for putting themselves in harm’s way and keeping our elected officials and their staff safe.
We urge Americans to stand together against politically motivated violence and for our democracy.
Impact to the Jewish Community
This information is being shared for situational awareness. The below information addresses open source reports of civil unrest and violent clashes nationwide. The situation remains dynamic and unpredictable. At this time, SCN is not aware of any credible, specific threats directed at Jewish organizations or institutions. Incidents of civil unrest and political conflict have the potential to spread beyond their initial focus area, to include into commercial and residential areas. SCN encourages facilities and individuals to remain vigilant, situationally aware, and to follow any curfew or shelter in place orders from local officials.
SCN is aware of several reports of civil unrest, clashes with police, and unauthorized access to federal property in the national capital region and similar reports are emerging from state capitol buildings around the country. In addition to the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Incidents of civil unrest have been reported outside state capitols in Ohio, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, New York, Minnesota, Washington, and Colorado.
At approximately 1:00PM CST, rioters breached police barricades and made unauthorized access to the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. There have also been reports of an unspecified number of suspected pipe bombs discovered in several locations in the Capitol Hill region. Reports indicate that the U.S. Capitol building has been secured and the Capitol Complex remains under lockdown with a widespread law enforcement presence throughout the complex and city. Bomb squads have destroyed at least one suspected pipe bomb outside of the Republican National Committee Headquarters. Five additional suspected pipe bombs or suspicious packages have been deemed safe by police in multiple locations in the Capitol Hill region, to include the U.S. Capitol building and the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a curfew for Washington D.C. due to ongoing protest activity near the US Capitol. The curfew will be in effect beginning at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, 06 January through 6:00 AM Thursday, 07 January. Additional law enforcement are being deployed to the area, and the Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. National Guard have been activated. According to open source reports, at least five people have been injured.
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