In a statement released late on Friday afternoon, Hobby Lobby put out what it probably hopes is the last update in the controversy over the Oklahoma-based chain’s lack of Jewish holiday items on its shelves. What started as one customer’s simple search for a bar mitzvah card has become a pre-holiday public relations nightmare for the craft retailer.
In their latest statement, the company said:
Due to overwhelming demand in the Northeast, we are pleased to announce that we will begin offering Jewish holiday items in a number of stores to test the market in New York and New Jersey.
We will continue to evaluate the demand for products. We appreciate the feedback we¹ve received from our customers, and we hope these products will meet their needs.
Customers can expect to see those items in stores in early November.
Based on Hobby Lobby’s normal schedule of holiday merchandise, maybe the company should just forget all about Hanukkah and start stocking Passover items in November.
The Anti-Defamation League, a group that finds and fights anti-Semitism, takes the company at its word.
ADL firmly believes that the religious views of a business owner cannot be a basis to infringe upon the legal rights of others, but a store choosing not to carry Hanukkah items does not violate anyone’s rights. Moreover, we have no reason to believe that Hobby Lobby has refused to stock Hanukkah items because of hostility to Jews or anti-Semitism.
“This company didn’t do good market research before opening a store in an area with a large Jewish population” is a much more likely explanation than “they won’t order a few dreidels because of bigotry.”
Why Hobby Lobby Isn’t Anti-Semitic [Tablet]