Why Being Santa Year-Round Is A Mitzvah For This Orthodox Jew


By Meredith Ganzman

"The Jews are supposed to be a light onto the world, and I think this helps to do that," says Rick Rosenthal, an orthodox Jew from Atlanta. For Rosenthal that means putting on the red suit to become the man in the sleigh all year-round. He’s gone by “Santa Rick” for the last 50 years, which he says surprisingly isn’t a conflict for his religious beliefs.

"He’s a spiritual person, who believes in a higher force, and all religions believe in higher forces... And as a Jew, anything I can do to ease tensions between Jews and any other sect or religion, I feel like I should do."

Being an observer of Sabbath, he’s so committed to the white bear and suit that he’ll stay overnight in a hotel and walk to his gigs to spread holiday cheer. It’s all worth it for Rick because his role as Santa is truly a special gift, he says.

"Strangers walk up to you and give you hugs and kisses and tell you the most intimate and raw parts of your life because they can trust you and because they love you. And it’s not because I am Rick it’s because I am Santa Rick. and that makes all the difference in the world."

Rosenthal even started the Northern Lights Santa Academy to train other jolly people how to portray the Clauses, elves or other seasonal characters.