Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

The Scroll

No. 11: Miracle on 34th Street

Holidays seasons

Print Email

1947, dir. George Seaton. The iconic Christmas movies of two successive generations—the Baby Boomers have It’s a Wonderful Life, Gen X has A Christmas Story—are set in pastoral wonderlands that pleasantly hum, like crickets chirping on a summer night, with the certainty of faith. By contrast, the greatest Christmas movie ever made takes place in midtown and on the Upper West Side, and throbs with Manhattan’s jazzy agnosticism. It is not by means supernatural, metaphysical, or even spiritual that you are asked to believe that the nice man with the white beard named Kris Kringle is the one and true Santa Claus, but with reference to that most Jewish of mediators, the law itself. Alfred, the Jewish janitor at Macy’s, has his life enriched by Kris even if he is too old to believe in him; the tragedy and redemption of the Dutch orphan girl cannot help but remind one of all the little Jewish Dutch girls who weren’t even so lucky. These ecumenical trappings serve to remind you that, regardless of your faith, Christmas truly is that most wonderful time of the year.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

What? It’s a sweet film, but that last sentence makes me wonder if Mr. Tracy even had a Jewish upbringing with big Passover, Rosh Hashanah, or Chanukah celebrations as I had. Really.

OK, I admit it, I have no clue as to what the Tablet author is trying to state with his list of 100.

34’th Street yes? Ushpizin doesn’t even make the list?

Blazing Saddles Yes, But “The Frisco Kid” also doesn’t make the list?

Sorry, but something’s missing in this 100.

Michael says:

Alfred is Jewish? Why?


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

No. 11: Miracle on 34th Street

Holidays seasons

More on Tablet:

A Grandfather’s Hidden Love Letters From Nazi Germany Reveal a Buried Past

By Vox Tablet — Reporter Sarah Wildman’s grandfather escaped Vienna in 1938. Long after he died, she discovered the life—and lover—he left behind.