NEW YORK (Oct. 2)
Representatives of the “Christian Brothers Carpet Cleaning Service” are blanketing Jewish communities in the metropolitan area soliciting business. This company is, in fact, a part of the “Church of Bible Understanding” (COBU) and operates out of the missionary-cult group’s headquarters, according to the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Task Force on Missinary Activity (JCRC). The COBU is considered one of the more extreme groups and has been the subject of a number of investigations and exposes, the JCRC said.
Malcolm Hoenlein, JCRC executive director, warned that the cleaning service offers COBU members opportunities to gain entree into people’s homes. While performing their service, they are reported to engage in religious discussions especially when young people are present Moreover, the income from the business is said to fund COBU’s other conversionary activities, he said.
In November, 1976, COBU, formerly known as “Forever Family,” was ordered by the New York City Health, Fire and Buildings Departments to vacate lofts in downtown New York where 159 members were living in “unsafe, unsanitary and illegal” conditions. The group is headed by Stewart Traill and a considerable number of its members are from Jewish families, Hoenlein said.
Rabbis, organizations and schools have been urged to alert all Jewish homes to the true sponsorship of the carpet cleaning and maid service and the nature of its activities. The JCRC is the central coordinating and resource body for the major Jewish organizations in the metropolitan area.