Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Claus's Jewish secret

A lovely anecdote in the Forward this week, straight from Brooklyn:
I was on the subway, and I saw a little boy about the same age as I was when I met Santa. He sat with his mother, and across from them was a large, old Hasidic man. The little boy said, “Mama, why is that man so fat?” The embarrassed mom tried to quiet him, albeit unsuccessfully. Then the boy said: “Mama, why does he have such a long beard? Why is he so old?” The Hasidic man leaned over to the little boy and said, in an accent rivaling the Borsch Belt comedian Jackie Mason: “Oy vey! What, you’ve never seen Santa Claus in person before?”
Related (but kind of opposite): During my childhood in Jerusalem, we used to go to Meah Shearim every year to buy the arba minim (four species) on Succot. While we were there, we would examine the various Succah decorations for sale: mostly tinsel and other Christmas decorations. Of course, they sold in droves, not that there's any problem with that. But another item on sale were pictures of Santa Claus. We were always amused at the thought of succot around Jerusalem, in some of the 'frummest' neighbourhoods, decorated with images of a big, fat, jolly Chossid, with a rebellious red coat.

1 comment:

Bernadette said...

Wonderful anecdote!
You may be interested in this column: Santa Claus or Sinterklaas? on