January 7, 2021 – Denver, Colorado – Like many Americans, the members of the Colorado Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) watched in horror and disgust as extremists violently attempted to take control of the U.S. Capitol at the time that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were to certify the Electoral College vote count from the November election. In doing so, the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our system of governance was interrupted for only the second time in our nation’s history. Their actions were reprehensible and criminal. Those who wish to object to the settled U.S. presidential election are welcome to use their First Amendment rights to do so peacefully, as happened at the Colorado State Capitol yesterday. Those who engaged in this violent and seditious terrorism must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
We pray for the safety of elected representatives and their respective staffs in Washington, D.C. and thank them for their dedication to our democracy and for their steadfastness in the face of unprecedented violence.
We thank the law enforcement officers who kept those elected officials and staff members safe during these chaotic, dangerous moments. Their official response, however, demands further scrutiny. We value our relationships with our fellow minority communities and are troubled by the discrepancy between law enforcement’s actions yesterday and their response to protests against police brutality over the summer. The difference in those two responses is just one more indicator of the systemic racism that plagues our country.
After this dark day in the history of our republic, it is time for us to come together as Americans to reject these efforts to subvert the will of voters. We must reinforce our democracy so the invitation to chaos cannot jeopardize its endurance again. Every Sabbath, Jews across the United States pray for the welfare of the U.S. government. We recite, “Help [our elected officials] understand the rules of justice You have decreed, so that peace and security, happiness and freedom will never depart from our land.” This Saturday, these words will be much more meaningful to all who say them, and we hope that our elected officials will take them seriously.
One year into his first term in office, President George Washington visited Newport, Rhode Island, where he met with religious leaders including Moses Seixas, a leader of the Yeshuat Yisrael synagogue. In a letter he sent to the synagogue shortly thereafter, Washington wrote to assure them that their place in our nascent nation was secure: “The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.” May our collaboration in days, months, and years ahead help Washington’s words ring true for our nation once again.