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Hobby Lobby Considering Jewish Holiday Decorations on Shelves

Hobby Lobby told Patch it is evaluating its current stock of merchandise. Its Lawrenceville location will open Oct. 11.

Christmas Decorations in the Hobby Lobby store, Marlboro Township. (Photo credit: Kaitlyn Anness).
Christmas Decorations in the Hobby Lobby store, Marlboro Township. (Photo credit: Kaitlyn Anness).
After internet backlash from a local blogger about its Marlboro Township store, Hobby Lobby is evaluating its merchandise.

Over the weekend, Marlboro residents began to discover and circulate a blog post detailing Hobby Lobby's lack of Jewish holiday decorations.

The post, written by Ken Berwitz, author of the political book Hopelessly Partisan, recounts a conversation Bewitz said he had with the craft and home store's corporate office in which the office allegedly answered, "Because Mr. [David] Green is the owner of the company, he's a Christian, and those are his values."

In a brief email to Patch, Hobby Lobby representative Vincent Parker said, "We currently do not carry any Hanukah items in our store. Our customers have brought this to our attention and we are currently evaluating our Holiday items and what we will carry in the future."

Hobby Lobby opened in Marlboro in June, filling the empty Pathmark location on Route 9 North in Marlboro Plaza.

The store is an arts and crafts chain controlled by Green and family in Oklahoma City with 13,000 employees and 525 big-box stores in the United States as of March, 2013. It is the third location to open in New Jersey. The other two stores are in South Plainfield and Millville. 

In his blog post, Berwitz said he believes the lack of Jewish holiday decorations is "anti-Semitic" in an area with a large Jewish population. 

"So let's be clear: these are not Christian values. They are David Green values," Berwitz wrote.

The blog post was also picked up by NJ 101.5 host Ray Rossi. A small majority of listeners voted they would not patronize stores such as Hobby Lobby, Barilla Pasta, or Chick-fil-A when their chairman’s values are made public, if the views do not reflect their own.

In his own blog post, Rabbi Don Weber of Temple Rodeph Torah said, The same freedom that allows Hobby Lobby to ignore Jewish interests also allows us to ignore Hobby Lobby. OUR freedom includes the right to vote with our feet, and with our money."

Green's company also runs Mardel, a large chain of Christian bookstores. The company is challenging a requirement in President Barack Obama's revised healthcare legislation that some companies must give insurance coverage for contraception drugs and devices.  In December, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor refused to block the mandate. The company was told it could continue its challenge in lower courts. 

On its website, the Hobby Lobby mission includes, "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles." 

A Lawrenceville Hobby Lobby location is set to open Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 3360 Brunswick Pike. Hobby Lobby also has New Jersey stores in South Plainfield and Millville.

Does Hobby Lobby's lack of Jewish holiday representation keep you from shopping in the store?
LJ Parets September 30, 2013 at 04:34 PM
I see no reason to reward a religious bigot with my shopping dollars. Michaels is just down the street from this location. Even if they were to start stocking Hanukkah decorations now, the company has made a point of excluding differing religious beliefs, including blocking women from accessing birth control. They are a store run by a bigot, catering to bigots.
Kristin Johanssen October 01, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Much ado about nothing
Heronimo October 01, 2013 at 07:34 AM
He's not an anti-Semite for not carrying Jewish decorations, he's a poor businessman. He has the right to carry and sell what he wants in his store.
Simon October 01, 2013 at 10:16 AM
If I remember correctly, this store looks more like a bad rummage sale with junk made in China, but it's been a long, long time. Why would I care what junk they sell or don't sell?
R Gary Fenske October 01, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Here's the thing... Many Christian's forget that the Jewish portion of the Bible is "in" their Bibles, as part of the History of the Christians. And, that Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian, that came much later, developed by "man" to help control the population (much like the Catholic Church does now). And, that the Jews were here first... just like the American Indians were HERE first, so ALL of us (unless we have some Indian blood in them, as I do), are immigrants. In fact, that is part of our history... those founding father's came from Europe, not America! Geezzzz, Louise!!
Rebecca Knowlton-Turkmen October 02, 2013 at 12:41 AM
I've never really liked the Hobby Lobby store (merchandise is of poor quality) - this just adds to my dislike of the store. As others have already posted. ... it is very sad that people (specifically David Green) do not know or understand their history! Yes, every Religion has a history, a time of formation. Do you know where you came from? Do you know where you are going? What is the end result of this "religion thing" are you looking for? Does the end really justify the means? Isn't all religion really just pointing people to God? If the Commandments of God are the same in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity... what are the "Christian Values" you are defending by NOT serving others??
Bernhard Rosenberg October 02, 2013 at 08:06 PM
•I spent an hour at the Marlboro store trying to help them and spoke to corporate. I do not believe they are anti-Semitic and believe certain people are trying to destroy their reputation. I have suggested sources to obtain channukah items and how to fight the bad press. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG
Heronimo October 03, 2013 at 07:06 AM
Bernhard: Are you also spending time at women's clothing stores suggesting sources for them to obtain men's clothing? At Chinese restaurants helping them create a soul food menu? Calling 877-Kars4Kids and telling them that they must provide money to non-Jewish children to attend camps also? Why can't a store that markets itself as a Christian organization sell items that it deems as Christian oriented?
Simon October 03, 2013 at 10:34 AM
Rabbi Rosenberg: Thank you for making the effort. It is commendable. Instead of fussing on the Internet, you took action to resolve a situation. How novel in today's goofy world.

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