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Happy 163rd Birthday to Sholem Aleichem

The Yiddish humorist and literary revivalist Sholem Aleichem was born in Ukraine on this day in 1859 --
and he served in the elected position of crown rabbi of the Ukrainian town of Lubny from 1880 to 1883.

Lubny is about half-way between Kyiv and Kharkiv, and is one of the oldest towns in the country, with some historic sights:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lubny

It was he who created the character of Tevye the dairyman that later became the star of "Fiddler On The Roof"

As we all learn more about Ukrainian history and character, the multicultural composition of the region reminds us of the strengths and weaknesses of communal societies. Hebrew, Russian, and Polish were the formal languages that most writers chose to use, but for a variety of reasons Sholem Aleichem picked Yiddish, and the ramifications of this practice continue to influence folk literature to this day.

https://yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Sholem_Aleichem

Posted by
3453 posts

With your penchant for history , I think you would find this interesting, to say the least . Here is a short clip , and the DVD is available on Amazon - https://youtu.be/lc0SjntyPrU As a professional musician , my first work was in the original run of " Fiddler " in the 1960's . AND , I almost forgot this , again ,a short clip - .https://youtu.be/YsAXHDowVaU Also available !

Posted by
252 posts

Thanks for sharing this information. PBS aired a wonderful program on the making of Fiddler, and references Sholem Aleichem's writings. I think Tevye is one of the most memorable and beloved characters from the Broadway stage.

Posted by
1884 posts

Wow - great links: the 92 Street Y is a treasure that I should take advantage of more often,
and the Fiddler clips remind me of when it seemed like every school class was putting on a version of it or of Music Man all the time. Otherwise it was Inherit The Wind for the non-singers. Ha.

Posted by
3453 posts

avi , I'm glad you liked the clips , but you really have to watch those Films , particularly " Miracle of Miracles " . Also , I think this would interest you - Arthur Szyk was a Polish Jewish illustrator who was active in the war years , his work was beautifully articulated , and biting in its social criticism . I became acquainted with his work several years ago in a retrospective at the NY Historical Society - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Szyk

Posted by
3453 posts

I am positively envious ! , The show we saw here in NY wasn't enough for us, but it was a good start . Thanks for the link , I will explore this in further detail .