1. Religion & Spirituality

The Jewish Origins of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

By December 23, 2011

Follow me on:

RudolphIt's no secret that many of the songs we now consider Christmas classics were written by Jewish composers. "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, " "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland" are just three examples. But did you know that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer also has Jewish origins?

According to recent articles on the JTA and the Interfaith Family websites, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written by a Jewish man by the name of Robert May. May worked as a low-level copy-editor for Montgomery Ward and in 1939 was asked to write a "cheery Christmas story" for one of the company's holiday promotions. At the time May was struggling to support his wife, who was dying of cancer, and their 5-year-old daughter, Barbara. He chose a reindeer for the story because it was his daughter's favorite animal and named it Rudolph with her permission.

May finished the story after his wife's death and it became an instant success. His brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, turned it into the song we all recognize and in 1964 that classic stop-motion version of the story appeared on NBC as a TV special.

Want to know more? You can find more in-depth information about the Jewish origins of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in this article at InterfaithFamily.com.

Follow About Judaism: Facebook | Newsletter
Comments
December 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm
(1) Katherine says:

Ha, those Jews. We are so innovative and with a sense of humor.

Rabbi Dr Katherine Hans Von Rotes Schild Zitler

January 5, 2012 at 12:09 am
(2) fashion photography course says:

Very awesome blog !! I couldnt have wrote this any better than you if I tried super hard hehe!! I like your style too!! it’s very unique & refreshingˇ­

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
  1. About.com
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Judaism

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.