Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rick Rosenthal, Orthodox Jewish Santa from Atlanta, Reflects on His Annual Role


Rick Rosenthal spent much of December sitting children on his knee, asking whether they’ve been good and listening to their Christmas wishes.

On Saturdays, he may have slept overnight in the building. And he only accepts payment after nightfall.

Rick Rosenthal is a Orthodox Jewish Santa from Atlanta. As reported in Vos Iz Neias,
Rosenthal began playing Santa at age 16 as a gag. He would dress up and hang mini bagels on his non-Jewish friends’ Christmas trees. He occasionally played the part in subsequent decades.
But he became a full-time Santa seven years ago when two things happened: First, his parents passed away within two weeks of each other, which led him to grow out his beard, a custom of the traditional Jewish 30-day mourning period after a parent’s death.
Soon after he was shopping at Home Depot when he noticed that a little boy was staring at him transfixed, sure that he was Santa Claus.
“I knew what he was thinking and I said, ‘Don’t tell anyone you saw Santa buying tools for the elves at Home Depot,’” he said. “He was frozen dead over. I walked into the store, I looked back at the first row and he’s still staring at me.”
Since then, Rosenthal has become Santa year-round. He and his wife, Tracy, run a Santa school, Northern Lights Santa Academy, that hosts three-day weekend seminars on how to be Santa. The school covers everything from fashioning a good costume to making sure you have legal and insurance protection in place. But the seminars also promise fun times, like a Christmas movie screening and a photo op with a live reindeer.
The couple also runs the National Santa Agency, which books a network of 100 Santas, Mrs. Clauses and elves for private parties and events. Rosenthal is a member of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas.
Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)