A Jewish blogger has set off national attention
to the absence of Jewish-related items in Hobby Lobby
, the craft chain owned by an ardent Christian who's sued to avoid providing contraceptive coverage under his company health insurance plan.
Some pungent remarks by store employees didn't help when inquiries were made about the lack of cards and decoration for Jewish observances.
The Hobby Lobby Hanukkah controversy began when Berwitz learned that on a recent shopping trip his wife’s friends could not find anything related to Hanukkah at their local Hobby Lobby store in Marlboro, N.J., though it was stocked with Christmas items.
According to Berwitz, one of the women asked about bar mitzvah cards, and a Hobby Lobby salesperson replied: “We don’t cater to you people.”
The company issued this statement:
OKLAHOMA CITY - Hobby Lobby President Steve Green has issued the following statement on behalf of the company:
“We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of our family or Hobby Lobby.
Our family has a deep respect for the Jewish faith and those who hold its traditions dear. We're proud contributors to Yad Vashem, as well as to other museums and synagogues in Israel and the United States.
We are investigating this matter and absolutely do not tolerate discrimination at our company or our stores. We do not have any policies that discriminate; in fact, we have policies that specifically prohibit discrimination.
We have previously carried merchandise in our stores related to Jewish holidays. We select the items we sell in our stores based on customer demand. We are working with our buyers to re-evaluate our holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”