Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz and his family are currently fostering two children, both age 3, who came from a Christian home.
He dressed up as Santa Claus to surprise the children so that they wouldn’t miss out on the experience due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Yanklowitz, an Orthodox rabbi, comes from an interfaith family himself and hopes to promote religious pluralism and tolerance.
Santa Claus came to town thanks to an Orthodox rabbi in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz and his wife Shoshana have been foster parents for years, in addition to having four children of their own. They currently have two foster children who are brothers, one who just turned 3 and one who is about to turn 4.
In the past, Yanklowitz has taken foster children to meet Santa during the holiday season, but the coronavirus pandemic ruled that out this year. Still, he noticed the brothers’ love of Christmas singing “Jingle Bells,” noticing the neighbours’ Christmas lights, asking about Santa Claus and wanted to do something to help them celebrate.
A friend offered to walk down their street in a Santa outfit for a socially-distant visit, but Yanklowitz didn’t think that would cut it. When he posted on Facebook about his dilemma, another friend sent him a Santa Claus costume.
“I knew because of COVID I wouldn’t let them go see any Santa or meet someone new, so once it became clear that it had to be me, and someone sent me the outfit, it made a lot of sense to just do it myself,” he told Insider.