The Fiddler on the Roof Connection

Culture, Media, Random

Fiddler on the Roof is for everybody. Hear me out.

A few weeks ago I was talking about Fiddler on the Roof, and how much I love the show and music. I was provided with the argument that one cannot truly connect to Fiddler on the Roof if one is not Jewish. I see the point, but disagree at the same time.

I don’t consider myself religious. But even I find scenes like the Sabbath Prayer to be beautiful cultural and musical moments.

I was constantly aware of the show through music education in school, local productions, and then performing the show when I was in high school. In college I decided to make the show the center of a research paper on interfaith marriage, which was incredibly interesting…and simultaneously heartbreaking.

Maybe it’s because I am not religious that I don’t see this piece of art as something wholly connected to a god. I understand and respect the connection my Jewish friends have to this show.

As a child, teenager, and even now…I see this show in a way that is important to various types of people. I see it as a strong portrayal of (many) cultures who have struggled and how important it is to accept everyone. I see it as a great way to educate people about another culture and old traditions. I see it as a great album of music. I see it as a show that represents many themes that hit families, no matter the religion: generations, growing up, standing up to racism, accepting people despite tradition, and moving on with life.

When viewing “Sunrise, Sunset” on Youtube, I see many users commenting on how they used this song for their own weddings or wedding anniversaries. I wonder how many of them are Jewish, or if the song transcends that theme for them the way it does for me.

Not to mention the Chava Sequence. I swear when we did that portion of the show there wasn’t a parent in the audience who didn’t get a little teary eyed.

I for one am very glad that I had teachers who exposed me to this show at a young age. I already had Jewish friends when I was very little, but I noticed how many kids were totally isolated from that once I grew up. I was shocked to hear Jewish and Muslim racial slurs in the halls once I was in high school. It may sound trite, but it is a huge shame that so many people can’t look past religion and culture and look on to people themselves.

In the meantime, if you’ve never experienced Fiddler on the Roof, I strongly recommend it.

What do you think? Is it a stronger piece of art to those who relate to the aspect of Judaism? Do you think the show’s themes make a bold impact on any viewer? What has your experience with the show been?

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One thought on “The Fiddler on the Roof Connection

  1. One of my best friends growing up is Jewish and encouraged me to watch the movie with her when we were kids. I am not Jewish or religious, but I appreciated the movie and appreciated the musical even more when I had the opportunity to act as a Daughter in the ensemble when I was in high school. Without fail, I would bawl my eyes out to Anatevka onstage every night, struggling to sing with a quavering voice. I learned the importance of community through this production.

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