Talking anti-Semitism over coffee, doughnuts

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Congregants of Kol Shalom synagogue met at Krispy Kreme for coffee and conversation on Nov. 28 Photo by Samantha Cooper

It was cold and windy outside, but inside the Krispy Kreme in Rockville, a dozen members of Kol Shalom sat at tables among boxes of glazed doughnut holes and cups of coffee.

Arnie Feldman brought up a recent study that found a majority of Europeans knew little about the Holocaust and held anti-Semitic beliefs.


That sparked a conversation about anti-Semitism and what Jews can do about it.

Several times a year, Kol Shalom’s rabbi, Jonathan Maltzman, invites his congregants out for coffee and doughnuts for an hour and hands the floor over to them.

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“We just schmooze about things people want to talk about,” Maltzman said. It’s nice to have a change of venue along with the hope that some locals might join us if it’s in the
neighborhood.”

At the event on Nov 28, the rabbi greeted his congregants and offered them coffee. He got up once or twice during the conversation to get more coffee or bring more chairs.


Arnie Feldman’s wife, Laura, said they have a house in rural Pennsylvania and they’re afraid to tell their neighbors that they’re Jewish. “We don’t want to wake up to a cross burning on our lawn,” she said. The neighbors must think they’re very
romantic, she said. “They see our Kiddush cups and Shabbat candle sticks, and think we’re having a romantic dinner.”

Julia Loeb, whose son is attending at Duke University, said there was recently an incident at the school, where somebody had defaced with a swastika a mural honoring the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting. The university covered the swastika with garbage bag until the mural could be fixed.That was the wrong response, Loeb said.

“[I think] we should leave them up. Don’t hide it under a rug,” she said of the swastikas. That will show others that anti-Semitism does happen on their campus and how serious it can be.

An hour passed and people stood, gathered their coats, scarves and gloves and began to head outside.
Rabbi Maltzman stayed behind until everyone had gone before stepping out into the cold air.

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