• Joanne Jacobs

Jews play Santa for families in need


At St. Joseph’s Family Center in Gilroy, California, the annual Christmas meal for the needy  “kicked off with a Jewish blessing and ended with a visit from Santa,” writes Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury News.

Twenty-five years ago, members of the nearby Congregation of Emeth synagogue offered to take over the free meal and gift giving so church workers could celebrate Christmas with their families.They’ve been doing it ever since.

Susan Meyers, a Jewish elf, helped feed the needy and hand out gifts at St. Joseph’s Family Center on Christmas Day. Photo: Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group

Susan Meyers, a Jewish elf, helps feed the needy and hand out gifts at St. Joseph’s Family Center on Christmas Day. Photo: Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group


Two of the original synagogue volunteers, Michael Oshan and wife Susan Meyers, were there, dressed as Santa and his elf, to hand out wrapped presents and warm coats and sweaters to adults.

“It’s become such a part of our culture that this is a big thing we look forward to every year,” said Emeth member Denise Wyl, also in elf costume.

About 150 people ate turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and “on tables covered in red and green paper in the glow of a brightly illuminated Christmas tree,” writes Kendall.

Volunteers cooked and served 18 turkeys.

#Christmas #interfaith #Jews #needy

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