Browsing Tag



This Austrian Jew Played ‘Fiddler’s’ Tevye 2000 Times

By On September 23, 2016

A couple months ago, the world lost a truly singular talent: a man of exceptional range and kindness, a real gutte neshuma (a good soul). That man was 91-year-old Theodore Bikel: actor, singer,… Read More

Jay Ungar

The Jew Behind the Famous Civil War Lament

By On October 13, 2015

If you’ve ever had aspirations to play in an old-time string band, you know it: “Ashokan Farewell,” the iconic lament featured over and over in Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary. Like the… Read More

Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings "Fiddler"

Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings “Fiddler”

By On July 30, 2015

Sammy Davis, Jr., the singer, tap-dancer, and entertainer, converted to Judaism in 1961, at the age of 36. He was passionate about his adopted religion, and remained so his entire life. Nevertheless,… Read More

A Yiddish Satire With Yiddishe Mamas and Soviet Fools

A Forgotten Satire of Yiddishe Mamas and Soviet Fools

By On June 23, 2014

Stories of a bustling courtyard populated by hapless sages and wise young fools fill Moyshe Kulbak‘s classic satirical family novel of Soviet Minsk. It’s a compelling, tender read, newly translated by Hillel Halkin with a… Read More

fiddler on the roof

2014: The Year “Fiddler” Turns 50

By On January 1, 2014

Was there ever a real-life shtetl as joyful, as funny, as musical and, ultimately, as heartbreaking as Anatevka? Probably not. But after five decades, “our little village” in Fiddler on the Roof still embodies what… Read More


A Surprising New History of “Fiddler on the Roof”

By On December 9, 2013

Maybe you first heard Tevye break into song when you watched Fiddler on the Roof on VHS in your grandparents’ living room. Maybe you sat in the audience on opening night at the Imperial Theater in 1964. Maybe,… Read More


The Temptations Do “Fiddler on the Roof”

By On July 17, 2013

You’ve heard “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and you might even know half the lyrics, but you’ve probably never heard as groovy a take as The Temptations’. Though best known for their number 1 hit, “My Girl,” the Temptations’… Read More


Fiddler on the Roof, Soviet Émigré-Style

By On June 6, 2013

Nadia Kalman’s The Cosmopolitans gives us a Tevye for the 21st century. The novel features a family of Soviet Jewish émigrés: Osip Molochnik (whose last name literally means “dairyman” in Russian), his wife Stalina (after… Read More


A Punk Fiddler

By On January 28, 2013

“In our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is crazy.” In most productions of Fiddler on the Roof Tevye delivers these opening lines ponderously, reflectively—a bit, you could say,… Read More


The Yiddish Godfather

By On July 5, 2011

Sholem Aleichem was one of the first authors to write in Yiddish–a language that’s been around for hundreds of years, but has only had a body of literature for 150 years or so. Before… Read More


Worf Is Jewish

By On March 17, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation was the second iteration of the iconic 1960s science-fiction TV show. It was praised for its vision of a future that wasn’t distant and mechanical, but undeniably human–even in… Read More


God Save the President

By On February 21, 2011

The townsfolk from Fiddler on the Roof  had a very simple prayer for their government: “May God bless and keep the Czar…far away from us!” This wasn’t the first time that Jews composed… Read More