A Manhattan coffee shop nearly had to close for the day after its baristas walked out because its Jewish owner confronted them about wearing pro-Palestinian pins — but members of the Jewish community showed up in droves offering to work shifts and wanting to support the cafe.
Caffe Aronne owner Aaron Dahan said he was left short-staffed at his Upper East Side location after he tried to talk to two of the baristas about their Free Palestine pins — just the latest staffers to walk out over the eatery’s pro-Israel support.
“Our staff was young. They think they know everything, liberal, college-educated,” Dahan, who is Jewish, told The Post on Tuesday.
“They think we’re supporting genocide, we’re supporting colonialism. They know the keywords but they don’t really know what they mean.”
The 25-year-old owner said a total of five baristas have left since Oct. 7, the day Hamas attacked Israel.
The shop had put up an Israeli flag a “couple of weeks ago” and started a fundraiser to help Magen David Adom – the Israeli Red Cross – and “our staff was not for it,” Dahan, said.
Dahan, who was at a catering event today, said he is disappointed by the loss of his workers, who he considered “family.”
“We knew our staff. We knew they were thinking these things. I said, ‘Let’s go for dinner. Let’s sit. Let’s ask questions. Let’s learn. Let’s realize that we’re not all here trying to kill each other,” Dahan said.
His mother, Peggy Dahan, 50, took over the store after receiving a call from her son this morning asking her to shut the location, which has only been open for 10 months, down for the day.
“He called me up. He said, ‘Mom, I’m doing a private event. I need to close the shop. I said, ‘Aaron, I’m not letting anybody close your shop,’” Peggy told The Post.
Peggy had to quickly learn how to work the cash register and how to “pour a cold brew and use the espresso machine.”
Friends and Peggy’s assistant came to help run the store and “people are bringing to-go cups.”
Around 70 people were lined up outside the shop, stretching down Lexington Avenue and 71st Street. while many held Israel’s flag around 1 p.m. The store has seen a significant bump in customers after news spread about their baristas, with local doctors and rabbis stopping in and encouraging people to buy gift cards and purchase menu items.
“It’s insane what’s going on,” she said. “What happened this morning is I got all these texts from people I don’t even know saying, ‘Peggy, we’re coming.’ I walk in, two people were hugging me at 8:30 a.m.
“Now there’s a line around the corner. It just shows what an amazing community we have.”
Bina Dabbah, 57, who lives in the neighborhood, said she came into the store to offer Peggy help the second she heard the news, offering to “wash the dishes, to mop the floors.”
“Whatever she needs,” she told The Post.
“All this antisemitism is very frightening,” she continued. “I know the baristas here and it’s just very upsetting that all these young people are – I don’t know what they are, ignorant? Hateful? Brainwashed? It’s very scary this is what’s happening in this country, but I hope somebody knows how to fix it because it’s really scary.”
Gabrielle Reisch, 29, who is Jewish, heard about the news on Instagram and came to the shop with her parents, saying: “We’re going to support our people. I was in the middle of work and I just left to come with my parents, and the line goes around the block because we’re here to support.”
Local Rabbi Shlomo Farhi also stepped out to show support, stopping in the store to buy a coffee and hype up their “sealed kosher waffles.” He, alongside local doctor Ira Savetsky, encourages patrons to come to the coffee shop – which has three locations – or buy gift cards.
Peggy also encouraged those looking to support the shop to donate to Magen David Adom – Israel’s Red Cross – as Caffe Aronne is trying to raise $36,000 to buy a medicycle for the group to help save lives.
“Every year Magen David Adom saves the lives of tens of thousands of Israeli Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Whether they be religious or secular, straight or gay, man or woman, each life is worth saving. We hope you join us by clicking the link below as we aim to do good!” the shop wrote on Instagram.
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