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Letter | Not all D.C. Jews are ‘terrified’

Dear Editor,

As a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., I was offended by the headline of Carly Pildis’s recent Forward opinion piece. By no means all Jews in D.C. are “terrified” as we await President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

For my part, I am not at all terrified by recent events, not even by the sinister and portentous messages we keep hearing. Of course there is no doubt that the Jan. 6 riot was of historic significance and a dark day for democracy, but the 25,000 troops in the city are an overreaction.

A colleague of mine went downtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and described the scene at “one-third Baghdad, one-third Berkeley and one-third Jerusalem on Yom Kippur.” Baghdad obviously, because of the green and red zones; Berkeley, because of all the people he saw smoking marijuana; Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement because the streets, normally busy, were deserted except for walkers and bicycle riders.

I have not an ounce of sympathy for the rioters, and believe they deserve all the punishment they may get. But I think it is insulting to Jews to imply we are all “terrified.” Individuals may indeed be; my wife and daughter, for instance, are not unhappy with the security response. But to imply we all are is false.

President Trump and the events of Jan. 6 and their aftermath are indeed traumatic for our country, but it doesn’t follow that we are individually traumatized, much less terrified as Jews. I have been counting off the hours left until Biden’s inauguration and Trump’s departure, and we’re almost there. With or without fanfare, protests, or the National Guard, Wednesday’s most important event will still proceed: Trump’s exit from the White House.

Paul Scham
Washington, D.C.




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