Yesterday, I was listening to “This I Believe,” a “public dialogue about belief–one essay at a time.” This week’s featured essay, titled “Speak Up” is a personal statement about Jay Frankston’s youth, a Jewish child in Paris during the Holocaust. He echoes what others have said about how violence and cruelty spreads. It is the silence of the masses that allows the evil to grow.
The essay is beautiful, but stranger than his non-fiction, is the brief biography at the end–Jay Frankston spent most of his adult life portraying Santa Claus in New York City. His book, “A Christmas Story: A True Story” is easily accessible to read and/or purchase on the web.
I listened to the entire 20-minute autobiographical story last night. Why a Jewish man would choose to portray and promote Christmas is curious indeed. I won’t tell the whole story, but the part I liked best was when he met a little girl who said she didn’t receive Christmas presents because she was Jewish. Frankston whispered, “I’m Jewish, too.”
I’m curious to find a photograph of him as Santa because he explains that he wore a rubberized mask, which must have been uncomfortable.
This sent me to the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame. (Jeremy mentioned this in our last podcast.) Mr. Frankston has not yet been inducted, so I’m adding an official nomination to the list of Yule Log 2013 plans. . .