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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?
Sanriobaby September 30, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Stores are allowed to carry or not carry whatever items they wish, but with that said, I think it's foolish for stores to not cater to their communities simply because it's bad business. I'm Catholic and I feel that stores should carry Jewish holiday items if they are carrying Christian holiday items too. It wouldn't offend me as a shopper, in fact, it would encourage me to shop there more often because it shows that they are open to everyone. But if I find that I don't agree with the business practices/beliefs of a company, big or small, I'll stop or won't start to spend my money there. I've yet to shop at Hobby Lobby and for right now, I won't until they start offering holiday items for the Jewish consumers in our community.
Lawrence Guy September 30, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Stores have a right to sell or not sell what ever they want. If a store does not carry the items you wish to purchase - then go to a store that does. Simple matter of supply and demand. I really hope if this store decides to sell this or any merchandise it is because they have made a business decision that they will benefit from such a decision. Not because some person is crying and belly aching.

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