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Meet Maryland's Jewish Santa and his elf

A Jewish man living in Montgomery County decided to take advantage of his great beard and become Santa Claus. His wife signed on as his elf.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — As people in the Jewish community have been getting ready for Hanukkah, one Maryland couple is preparing for Christmas...as Santa and his elf.

The Wally couple spent most of their lives in New York. After retiring, they decided to move closer to their grandchildren in Montgomery County.

Bernard Wally said he has always had a talent for growing a beard. One day, his grandkids and then his barber urged him to try growing it out full.

"It was John (the barber) who said, 'hey what are you going to do? Are you going to be Santa Claus?" said Bernard's wife, Ellen Wally.

Bernard said their daughter immediately looked up Santa Claus University, and the couple booked a class -- graduating a couple years ago.

"I decided to be Ellen the Elf," she said. "And, we're ready, right Santa?"

Credit: Ellen Wally
Bernard and Ellen Wally pose with their grandkids as Santa and his elf.

Bernard said they'll be volunteering at two shelters in D.C. this Christmas. The couple hopes to visit even more shelters next year.

"Since we don't necessarily observe Christmas, Christmas day is a good day for us to work, and to participate and to do something really well and to do something good for the community," said Bernard. "It's as happy as Santa Claus can get on Christmas day."

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