Fiddler on The Roof

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.

2 Comments on “Fiddler on The Roof”

  1. Sheppy Vann says:

    This is so true-it is important for us to remember that the welcoming of 1905 was not continued and an entire ship full of Jewish refugees was turned away and sent back to Europe and many ended up in concentration camps.
    Our church sponsored a bus trip to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis yesterday. It is housed in the Lorraine motel where MLK Jr was killled. It is a reminder that American needs to make sure we are not only welcoming to immigrants but mindful that there are American citizens who are suffering because of prejudice.

    • dana lange says:

      Shelly, the holocaust museum in Berlin does an excellent job illustrating that tragic boat trip for Jews we turned away. It would have been so easy to save them if we had the will to do the right thing and not turn a blind eye

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