Metro Atlanta rabbi plays ‘Father Christmas’ to homeless children

Rabbi Steven Lebow at Temple Kol Emeth.TYSON HORNE /TYSON.HORNE@AJC.COM
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Rabbi Steven Lebow at Temple Kol Emeth.TYSON HORNE /TYSON.HORNE@AJC.COM

‘How could we not help them celebrate their holy day?’ says Rabbi Steven Lebow

As the leader of Temple Kol Emeth in east Cobb, Rabbi Steven Lebow doesn’t celebrate Christmas.

But he made sure some of the neediest in his community had a merry and bright holiday.

“Every year on Christmas Eve my synagogue opens up its Sunday School annex to shelter the homeless,” he said in a social media post. Members of his congregation set up Christmas trees for their visitors, prepared meals and played games.

“By midnight this old Rabbi will take the place of Father Christmas, placing presents in their stockings,” he wrote. “This is not my holiday. I have understood that since I was 6 years old. Nonetheless, it is the holiday of these six homeless children. How could we not help them celebrate their holy day?”

The post is quickly making the rounds and warming hearts.

“Whether you believe in angels or not.. there is no denying you are an angel on earth,” wrote CNN journalist Holly Firfer in response. “We are so blessed to have you in this world.”

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Temple Kol Emeth is part of Family Promise, an organization that serves homeless families, as are numerous congregations of the Christian faith.

“We participate with several other churches to open our doors 365 days a year to homeless families,” Lebow said. “We at our temple picked Christmas week so our partners who are Christian could spend time with their own families.”

Here is Rabbi Lebow’s full message:

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