20 September 2004

ISFSP intervention spurs Target Corporation to halt selling Kabbalah String, halt exploitation of a Jewish tradition.



The International Society for Sephardic Progress (ISFSP) is pleased to announce that the Target Corporation has ended its exploitation of an ancient Jewish tradition, by revoking the sale of a piece of yarn which they termed "Kabbalah Red String." In a letter dated August 3, 2004, the ISFSP asked Target to halt the sales of the product. The original request stated:

"We are offended by the exploitation that Target Corporation is conducting by marketing this item. Just as you would not sell turbans, statues of Buddha, crucifixes or rosary beads, items considered part of Jewish ritual should also not be sold for a profit. We ask that you please reconsider the sale of this item, as it makes a mockery out of the authentic practice and original modality of the Kabbalistic tradition."

The ISFSP had also notified Target that the use of the term "Kabbalah Red String™" is not authorized as the United States government refused to issue a trademark on these words under provisions of the Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1). The government felt the red string was indeed worn by people of the Jewish faith for certain legitimate purposes, and that those purposes have significance to those practitioners.

"Please note, on August 11, 2003 the Kabbalah Centre was denied a patent and trademark for the use of Kabbalah and/or Red String by the U.S. government. Please reference United States Patent and Trademark Office 76/490387."

Debra Schneider of the Target Corporation legal department responded in a letter stating the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles provided Target with materials which helped them market the product. The Kabbalah Center, known for its shady activities, has long been criticized by Chief Rabbis and the legitimate Jewish community around the world. Ms. Schneider went on to indicate that the Kabbalah Red String™ has been removed, that it is no longer being offered or advertised for sale.

Shelomo Alfassa, Executive Director of the ISFSP declared:

"This is a victory for the Jewish community. The Jewish people should not allow the corporate exploitation of their religion. Judaism, as well as Kabbalah (which is an inherent part of our sacred tradition) is not for sale, period. As we say, we are advocates for the Sephardim, but activists for the Jewish people."

The International Society for Sephardic Progress is a Jewish agency developed to serve the Sephardic community--the descendants of the Jews of historic Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Levant who share both common religious and cultural bonds. Although based in the United States, the ISFSP is an advocacy organization representing Sephardim internationally.



The ISFSP is a a non-profit organization.


List of all newspapers which
carried the ISFSP / Target story

Original image from the $26.00 Target product

Letter to Target from ISFSP

First response from Target

Second response from Target

DOCUMENTS HERE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

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