I was thinking today about the December 23, 1970 strip, the one that starts thusly:
This is, to the best of my recollection and research, the only mention of post-Biblical Judaism in the entire run of the strip. It slides into Linus and Santa discussion the Maccabees and the temple, so we go quickly back to Biblical times, but nonetheless it stands out, the note that a Jewish holiday got mentioned. This strip would have run at the start of Hanukkah that year, but I was wondering why? Was Schulz just looking at the calendar to see when the strip would run (he was, of course, drawing them months in advance)? But, thinking of Rabbi Abraham Twerski, who has written various self-help books with Peanuts strips used as examples to explain concepts, and who, like many an old Hasidic Jewish man, had a long white beard – perhaps not as full as the usual depiction for Santa’s, but full enough – and wonder whether Schulz had had an encounter with a Hasidic Jew that had lead to this. It would not have been Twerski himelf, mind you; the two of them did not meet until bout two decades later, after Twerski had published his first Peanuts-illustrated book, When Do the Good Things Start? But if you do a Google image search for “old Orthodox Jew”, you’ll soon seen images of folks who would’ve brought Santa to mind.
The information may be out there somewhere, but for now, all I have is my suspicions.