Jewish Schools, Organizations Close Early Amid Baltimore ‘Purge’ Rumors
As Baltimore continued to reel from three days of intense rioting, Jewish schools and organizations in Baltimore shut their doors early on Tuesday amid rumors of renewed violence.
Referring to the rioting taking place downtown, Executive Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council Arthur Abramson said that Baltimore “Jewish communities and institutions are adjacent to areas … where some of these events have taken place.”
He said the Jewish community has been working with African-American state and civil leaders to try and “calm things down a little bit.”
“We’re trying to deal with rumor control,” he said, adding reports of hearsay concerning a so-called “purge,” language based on a 2013 horror movie of the same title about violent urban lawlessness, at a specific time and location. According to Fox News, on Monday an online call was issued for a “purge” at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. On Tuesday, similar calls were made online, according to the report.
Abramson said volunteers from the community have brought “brooms and shovels and pots and pans and are trying to clean up some of the neighborhood and destruction.”
He said the African-American community was advising the Council where to send volunteers.
Executive Director of the Center for Jewish Education Larry Ziffer said community organizers insisted that what developed over the weekend in Baltimore “is not a sudden eruption.”
“It’s sudden in its impact but it’s a reaction … it’s like a tinderbox, and you get a match near it and it explodes,” he said.
Riots broke out last Friday in reaction to the death of Freddie Gray, and over 200 people have been arrested and 20 police officers injured in the resulting violence. Maryland’s governor has called a state of emergency in the city and sent in the national guard.