Santa’s Jewish All-Star Dream Team

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There’s a seasonal uproar about seasonal messages. In the gentile world, the debate rages: How early is too early to start celebrating Christmas? This year, Nordstrom got major props for delaying their Christmas savings until after Thanksgiving.

On the other hand, MyJewishLearning just posted our first Christmas video, Christmas in Calgary, in which comic Ophira Eisenberg tells a story about wanting to visit a mall Santa Claus.

While we were filming, something occurred to me: The same exact thing happened to me as a kid! (And, if you’ve seen the video, Santa had a very similar response for me.) And then something else occurred: There are probably enough Jews with zany Christmas stories so that we could stock a full-fledged production of A Miracle on 34th Street — or, at the very least, to create a dream team of Jewish Christmas all-stars.

First up, the character of the Hasidic rabbi in Nathan Englander’s story “Reb Kringle,” from For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. I forget the protagonist’s actual name, but it doesn’t really matter; Reb Kringle is all you need to call him. He’s an in-demand Santa who makes some extra cash every holiday season dressing up in a red jumpsuit — the managers love him, because they don’t have to rent a beard, and that the kids love it because it’s so realistic.

And, of course, we’d also have to include Dvora Myers, an observant Jewish breakdancer and gymnast, who just had a seasonal gig as a breakdancing elf.

I don’t know who would play the reindeer, but maybe the skeleton reindeer from Nightmare Before Xmas? The kid sitting on Santa’s lap, though — that would definitely be played by Ophira Eisenberg. Just so we get to witness the moment in the video. It’s a whole new kind of priceless.

Edit: Dvora’s article about being Santa’s Little Elfer has just been published on The Morning News. To wit:

One could be a breaking elf, a Bollywood elf, a waltzing elf, a country elf, a ballet elf, a hip-hop elf and finally, a Jewish elf. This last dance genre was represented by a 10-second remix of “I Had a Little Dreidel,” during which the dancers spun like a top in both directions with their arms stretched above their heads. These were the only steps in this part of the routine. Evidently the choreographers shared my low opinion of Jewish dancing. They seemed to sense that including moves not found in the hora would somehow strike people as inauthentic.

Posted on December 15, 2009

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