The 2016/2017 Season

After the Showchagall


Discussion questions

  • What traditions are important to you?

  • Has anyone you know gone against a family tradition? Or invented a new tradition?

  • How do you imagine life will be for the characters who go to America?

  • Do you think traditions are harmful or useful?

Interesting Fiddler facts

  • The play takes place in a Anatevka, a fictional shtetl (a small Jewish town or village) in Russia more than 100 years ago.   Anatevka’s villagers are trying to cope with Russia’s anti-Jewish policies. When the play begins, the people of Anatevka have learned that there is a new law that will evict them from their homes.

  • The play’s title is inspired by a painting by Marc Chagall, pictured at right, called "The Fiddler."

  • Fiddler on the Roof is a popular musical across the world. In the past ten years it has been performed in more than 24 countries!  It is particularly popular in Japan, where it has been produced hundreds of times. 

Some Jewish traditions in the play:

The yente is a village matchmaker, who pairs up single men and women for marriage. In the orthodox tradition, the father of the bride has the final say in the marriage.

Shabbat is the day of rest in Judaism that spans from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. Tevye’s family lights candles and blesses the bread and the wine before eating the shabbat dinner on Friday night.

Marrying within your own faith is the biggest tradition broken in Fiddler on the Roof. The tradition of marrying someone of your own faith would have been common for most Jewish communities in the early 1900s. 

Jewish weddings take place under a chuppah or canopy, which symbolizes the couple’s new Jewish home, open on all four sides to represent hospitality. 

Outside the home, orthodox Jews do not sit with or touch members of the opposite sex. When Hodel and Perchik dance together, they are breaking a long-standing tradition.