A View From the Roof! Kudos to Aleichem

*Blogger’s Note: I am keeping in step with this blog’s perspective of Christ-centered spirituality in contrast to dogmatic religion, as I acknowledge an author who wrote Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem.  I have mentioned on another one of my blogs that our family (two kiddos and my one wife … I have only had one wife) is taking part (or parts) in the Fiddler on the Roof play.  We have been immensely blessed to be a part of this production. 


Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.” – Sholem Aleichem

Our cast and crew are absolutely wonderful people with great talent.  Their hearts are so good.  I have included a picture of Sholem Aleichem, which I think is a very interesting picture!  It is true that Joseph Stein is the author of Fiddler on the Roof.  But Aleichem came up with the character of Tevye, and Aleichem’s work was the basis for The Fiddler on the Roof.  This story’s setting takes place in Tsarist Russia, 1904, in a small town known as Anatevka.

As a  young kiddo, I was refused the envied admission into the company of my older brothers / friends, in their great adventures.  That message had a, somewhat, ominous similarity to the message our biblical predecessors (referred to in the Bible) received: “You are not welcome here .. We do not want you around …”  For me, I was able to be healed from my childhood stigma and alienation dispensed from my pseudo-elders.

This message to the folks in Anatevka is near the very core of the Fiddler on the Roof, a message brought from those Russians bullying the Jewish folks: “You aren’t welcome here … We don’t want you around … We don’t like you.”  Such a message cut far deeper into the souls and the dignity of the folks in Anatevka, compared to my childhood conflict with my brothers.  So, what is happening … that God would be glorified, somehow, by His people going through painful trials, like alienation, like suffering?

One thought that has emerged during our rehearsals, during our own individual script-memorization sessions: I am not able to fathom the hell-on-earth Jewish people  have gone through … such as the Holocaust.  There is no way.  The Old Testament carries countless descriptions of God-honoring, Biblical impact-players being ostracized, persecuted, alienated, banished, tortured, killed, bullied ….

And, I quietly consider that most of us experienced some level of being ostracized, persecuted, alienated, banished, bullied, told that we are not welcome, told that we have to leave … and some have been tortured.  One of the truths that cannot be disputed is that oppression, hatred, racism, injustice has been around for a long, long time, sustained by many different ethnic groups.  We all need to be encouraged, and we all need hope.  One of my favorite exchanges (there are many) takes place between Tevye and Mendel:

Mendel: "And our forefathers have been forced out of many, many places 
at a moment's notice.
"Tevye: "Maybe that is why we always wear our hats."  
(Tevye emits a slight grin as he says this)

Tevye’s words seem to emphasize the strength of both Tevye and the people of Anatevka, their resilience, which come out in the form of a seasoned sense of humor.  By the way, for those in the Denver, CO area, there are still tickets available for Wednesday, the 19th of February.  The Thursday (20th) and Friday (20th) performances are sold out.  (303) 670-1319

Image of the Fiddler on the Roof (left) from http://freudsbutcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/fiddler-on-the-roof.jpg



6 thoughts on “A View From the Roof! Kudos to Aleichem

  1. This is a classic show on tradition and not being wanted. What part are you playing? Are you Anatevka?
    That was a dark history and it was a repeat performance as to what happened in the bible. The thing is, I do not condone the action of Israel on land occupying of the Palestine and putting a wall in the West Bank. Sounds familiar similar to the Berlin Wall. Sad.
    But the show must go on. Cheers to you, T. /seeker..

    1. Seeker, the role I am playing is “Mendel”, the Rabbi’s son. Seeker, you are right … and it is quite ugly. Human beings can really get things into a mess, and Israel has contributed to the quagmire. I am not Jewish, and I bring that up because I really cannot understand it all in its entirety. Doing the play with my family is a good experience, for different reasons. One of those is just to show them the importance of committment … sticking with something to the end … and pressing on even though it gets hard. Thanks for your thought that got me thinking … Have a good weekend. T

    1. I am Mendel, the Rabbi’s son. My wife plays the role of “Grandma Tzeitel” (who appears in Tevye’s dream … Grandma Tzeitel had died prior to this time, and comes back to talk to Tevye about who is marrying Tzeitel – Tevye’s daughter). My boy plays some support roles: he comes out in one scene selling bagels; another scene he come out selling fish; in the wedding he gets upset about who Tzeitel (Tevye’s daughter) is marrying; and there is another outburst he does in the next-to-the-last scene. My daughter plays a support role, also: prior to the wedding, she comes out and tells villagers that Tzeitel is marrying Motel (short “o”), and not marrying Lazar Wolfe. A long answer to your short question. Sorry. It is always a bonus to hear from you John. I’m amazed that anyone stops by to read my blog … great writers like you.

      1. Wow! At least the whole family gets to go to rehearsal together. I did some acting in high school and after (and in fact, founded a troop that spent a summer going from camp sites to parks doing shows for kids…made good money too, I recall) but to be honest, as much add I enjoyed the acting I a HATED learning lines. I was a much better director. To this day I critique every play and movie I see for the way it is shot.

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