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In response to bomb threat, community members hold “Bagels not Bombs” rally

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photo by Addie Bard

Community members talk and eat bagels outside of Moti’s Market at a rally in support of the Jewish community and against recent anti-Semitism.

Around 50 community members gathered Wednesday morning, March 1, in the parking lot outside Moti’s Market to rally against the recent bomb threats and other acts of anti-Semitism in the Jewish community.

The rally, titled “Bagels not Bombs,” was organized by Jewish community members Esther Schrader and Aviva Goldfarb. Schrader and Goldfarb were shocked and concerned about the recent bomb threat at CESJDS on Monday, Feb. 27, and they wanted to do something to show their support. People brought their homemade signs with slogans against hate and violence, including, “Bagels not Bombs,” “Never again,” “Hatred has no place” and “Religious Freedom is American Foundation.”

“We just want to show this school and this community that we stand by you and we care,” Schraeder said.   

Schrader and Goldfarb were joined by members of the local Jewish community, Maryland Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery), Maryland State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery) and Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-District 1). Being a Jew, the recent bomb threat hit close to home for Berliner.

“I stand in solidarity with my Jewish people, but also with all people,” Berliner said. “Silence is no longer an option. We have to stand up and say ‘that’s not who we are.’”

Co-organizer Aviva Goldfarb echoed Berliner’s call to stand with all people who have recently been marginalized and attacked.

“We are going to stand up against hate and violence and threats of any kind,” Goldfarb said. “We really do have a community that will not tolerate violence and antisemitism and anti-Muslim sentiment and hate against any members of our community.”

The rally was originally scheduled to take place in the JDS parking lot, but according to Schrader, the demonstration was moved to the bigger Moti’s Market parking lot in the Randolph Hills Shopping Center, across the street from the school. High School Principal and Associate Head of School Marc Lindner said that the event started out as Waldstreicher just handing out bagels at a table outside of school. When the event grew, the school needed it moved.

“It turned into something that was not at all expected and that we had never authorized,” Lindner said. “So once we learned that’s what was happening, we then called back those people … and explained that it wasn’t something we wanted to have on our campus especially at drop off time because it would have been disruptive.”

There was also an extra police car outside of the Upper School Wednesday morning, which according to Lindner, was there to make sure the school’s directive to the rally was followed.

Although the rally was not held on school property, JDS community members were still in attendance. JDS parent Aliza Lerner attended the rally.

“I really want to state how much I love being a Jewish American and a really proud JDS parent,” Lerner said. “I want our freedoms to continue and to be able to flourish as a Jewish community in this country.”

Eighth-graders Irit Skulnik and Abigail Katz stopped by before school to grab bagels and show their support.

“We’re here for the bagels and we’re upset about the bomb [threat],” Katz said.

Towards the end of the rally, Schrader encouraged the crowd to call Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) and pressure him to release a statement condemning the threat, which the governor did later this morning.

Hogan wrote on Facebook that the recent attacks are “despicable and unacceptable,” and he said that he offers his “full support to the Jewish community.”

Schrader emphasized the importance of taking action in light of the recent threat.

“It is very important to stand up, not stand down,” Schrader said. “We are not afraid, and we will stand up to this.”

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