Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"As Shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof"

Throughout much of their history, the Jewish people have been forced to live amongst those with different religious and cultural convictions; the children of Israel have proven resilient, however, surviving numerous hardships while maintaining the faith of their fathers. This struggle can be seen at the forefront of the 1964 Tony Award-winning musical, Fiddler on the Roof.

At the musical’s onset, we are greeted by the Russian-Jew Tevye, who bursts into song proclaiming the value of tradition within the context of his Jewish community; he reflects on how the members of his village go about their daily routines, balancing the numerous trials associated with living in early 20th century Russian society as a Jew. The villagers, Tevye says, are akin to a fiddler who composes tunes from the shaky heights of a rooftop who is trying to maintain his footing. What allows for the villagers to remain grounded like a fiddler on the roof? Tradition. Without tradition, the inhabitants of Anatevka would surely succumb to the many problems and influences that are present within an ever-changing world; their lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof. 

(Note: This shakiness is representative of the fragilization experience by those in modern secular society; the Jewish people of Anatevka are cross pressured, though they resist the influences of the outside world by falling back upon tradition)

1 comment:

  1. Fiddler on the Roof has always been one of my favorite musicals. The questions it raises about society and religion are still relevant today. The fiddler is definitely a good symbol of the people being cross pressured by different influences of the outside world. In my opinion, the reasons so many organized religions have survived all these years are because of strong traditions.