Baristas at Jewish-owned Upper East Side cafe quit en masse

The Jewish owner of a New York City coffee shop was overwhelmed by an outpouring of community support after his pro-Palestine baristas walked off the job.

Caffe Aronne in Manhattan was looking at shutting its doors on Tuesday after workers quit en masse over owner Aaron Dahan’s support of Israel in the ongoing war with Hamas. The baristas chose to walk out rather than engage in meaningful conversation with the Jewish owner over the Free Palestine pins they wore to work at the Upper East Side café.

“Our staff was young. They think they know everything, liberal, college-educated,” Dahan told the New York 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,” added the 25-year-old owner who began displaying an Israeli flag in the shop a few weeks back and launched a fundraiser to aid the Israeli Red Cross – Magen David Adom.

But “our staff was not for it,” according to Dahan who told The Post that five baristas have left jobs at the coffee shop since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

Amid the chaos created by the barista walkout, the community came out in droves to show its support, with customers seen in videos waiting in a line that stretched around the block at the cafe which has only been in operation for 10 months.

Dahan recounted how he tried to communicate with the baristas before they quit.

“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,” he said.

But facing a catering event Tuesday, Dahan realized he could not operate the shop without the workers and called on his mother to help by closing its doors.

“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 Dahan told The Post, admitting she had a crash course in learning how to use the cash register and how to “pour a cold brew and use the espresso machine.”

“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,” the Post reported.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ira L. Savetsky put out the word about his “favorite” cafe to his nearly 50k followers on Instagram.

“Nearly all of the workers at my favorite cafe, @caffearonne, just down the block from my office, quit today because the owner is a proud Jew and supporter of Israel,” wrote Savetsky whose wife is former “Real Housewives of New York” star, Lizzy Savetsky.

“Please everyone go support them by visiting them at 71st and Lexington, buying gift cards, donating to their ambucycle for @magen_david_adom, and leave them a positive review on Google!” he added in the post which included a video of him describing what happened alongside Peggy Dahan.


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A post shared by Ira Savetsky, MD (@drirasavetsky)

“It’s insane what’s going on,” Peggy Dahan 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,” she added.

“All this antisemitism is very frightening,” said Bina Dabbah, a resident of the Upper East Side neighborhood who offered to “wash the dishes, to mop the floors” to help.

“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,” she told The Post.


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