Fiddler on The RoofPosted: January 12, 2019
We went to see Fiddler on the Roof tonight at DPAC. Although I have seen it at least four times, this was a particularly good rendition. In the past the world of 1905 Russia seemed very far off to me. The plight of the Jews being driven out of Russia to mask the real problems in the country was the story of a different people from my world. Not that I don’t have lots of Jewish friends just that the previous times I watched the play I felt like things were looking up for the traditionally persecuted group. Although it certainly was not my place to decide.
But tonight, something felt different. The America I live in today is less tolerant, less welcoming, more judgmental and cruel. Hate crimes are way up and not condemned by huge swaths of Americans. We are moving backwards, not by decades, but by centuries.
At the end of the play, the Jews of the fictional Russian village Anatevka have to leave their country in days. They are refugees, looking for a more welcoming place. The Rabbi and the family which the play revolves around are leaving for America. In 1905 we would have welcomed them, but what about today?
When America has taken in those people who were unwanted in their own countries they often become the most devoted and thankful citizens, appreciating the country that gave them a new chance on life. How can we have become the place that does not have compassion for those who need a new country?
Fiddler on the roof is more relaxant today than when it first came out in 1964. Sadly now we must not just “never forget,” but also speak out against persecution of all kinds.