In the past few days two different friends told my wife they had gone into the new hobby lobby store in Marlboro, New Jersey and noticed that, although there already was a lot of Christmas merchandise available, there was none for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah (some people drop the "C" and spell it Hannukah. Same holiday).
One of our friends entered the store, asked where the Chanukah goods were, was told there wouldn't be any, and asked why. According to her, the answer was:
"We don't cater to you people"
Understandably irate, she called the home office, and was told, indifferently, that hobby lobby doesn't have Chanukah on its list of holidays.
Since I did not hear this ugly exchange with my own ears, I was not personally certain it was the case. And that's not good enough for this blog. So I just called the Marlboro hobby lobby and asked whether it would be stocking any Chanukah merchandise. I was told it would not. When I asked why, the answer - verbatim - was:
"Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he's a Christian, and those are his values"
FYI, I would guess that, in a five mile radius around the Marlboro store, a solid one-third of all residents are Jewish. But, then again, what is the difference? The reason hobby lobby won't sell Chanukah goods is unrelated to how many Jews are in the area,
The reason is that Mr. green's "Christian values" preclude him from selling anything related to a Jewish holiday. And not just just Chanukah, but Passover too, as I learned by calling corporate headquarters and speaking to the company's customer relations department.
And now a word about "Christian values". As someone with a great many Christian friends and acquaintances, I can honestly say I don't know even one who would ever see the intentional exclusion of Jews as having anything to do with their religious beliefs.
So let's be clear: these are not Christian values. They are david green values.
Well, here are MY values. I will never set foot in a hobby lobby. Ever. I will be sure to tell everyone I know and, obviously, everyone who reads this blog, the reason why. And I strongly request that what I have learned be passed along to as many others as possible.
I have no problem at all with Christianity. But I have a major problem with anti-Semitic idiots.
"Mr. green" can go to hell.
UPDATE: Having spoken with the person who related the "we don't cater to you people" quote, I have been advised that the comment was made not about the fact that hobby lobby does not carry Chanukah items (which it very definitely does not), but after an inquiry as to why the store does not sell bar-mitzvah cards.
That said, everything about hobby lobby in this blog remains correct, based on my first-hand discussions with store personnel and corporate customer relations. The lack of bar-mitzvah cards (and, presumably, cards for other Jewish events) is an additional element.
In other words, it is even worse than I thought.