Miles from JDS campuses, Capitol Building invaded by pro-Trump rioters

Daphne Kaplan and Rochelle Berman

Mere miles from the CESJDS campuses, thousands of rioters breached the gates of the Capitol building during the electoral college vote certification around 2 p.m. today. In response, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser enacted a curfew for 6 p.m. this evening for district residents and visitors. 

Head of School Mitch Malkus sent an email to the JDS community this evening, emphasizing the school’s responsibility to protect the U.S. democracy and its commitment to educating students about their civic duty to engage in the world with American and Jewish values.

“JDS students are immersed in a rich dual curriculum that teaches them to be serious and committed Jews and knowledgeable and responsible American citizens,” Malkus wrote in the email.

As news sources began publishing information about the riots, the school remained in session, drawing some students and faculty to discuss recent developments in class. 

“I happened to just be going into class with my seniors, and since it was unfolding and I was unaware, I just told them to look at the news, and we just sort of looked at the headlines and what was going on in the news,” history teacher Natalie Levitan said. 

Others, such as sophomore and Washington resident Elliot Bramson, only heard about the riots after receiving an emergency alert for the curfew in the district. While the mobs were primarily concentrated on Capitol Hill, Bramson is somewhat fearful that rioters will linger elsewhere and continue to be violent tonight. 

“While I don’t think anything bad will happen to residents’ homes, there are cases where people are injured…” Bramson said. “Even though I am not at [the Capitol], I feel like there is always a possibility that people could come here and something could happen.” 

The Washington National Guard was mobilized around 5:30 p.m. by Mayor Bowser and the Department of Defense to help law enforcement and disperse crowds. The governors of Maryland and Virginia also sent National Guard troops to assist local law enforcement and troops in securing the Capitol Building. Congress has reconvened tonight to continue the electoral college vote certification. 

The Washington curfew will be enforced until 6 a.m. tomorrow.