The Fiddler Phenomenon

Who could have predicted that a Yiddish writer’s tales of an impoverished Jewish milkman in czarist Russia, reborn as a smash Broadway hit, would become a cultural touchstone of lasting popularity and global recognition into the 21st century?

In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, Scotch Plains Public Library will examine the phenomenon of Fiddler on the Roof from a variety of vantage points. We invite the community to join us for the following programs throughout the month of May. Registration is not required for these events.

Film Screening: Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
Thursday, May 2 at 7 pm

We will screen Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, a riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. This film tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it.

Ed Goldberg and the Odessa Klezmer Band
Sunday, May 5 at 2 pm

Ed Goldberg and the Odessa Klezmer Band will bring the joyous dance music of the Klezmorim (Jewish folk musicians) to the library. They have been playing since 1984, celebrating the heritage of Eastern Europe, Ladino, and Middle Eastern music.

The Legacy of Fiddler on the Roof with John Kenrick
Thursday, May 16 at 7 pm
Theater historian John Kenrick will present “The Legacy of Fiddler on the Roof,” digging deep into Aleichem’s short stories about a Jewish milkman in a Russian shtetl (small town) and how they became a lasting worldwide hit.

Fiddler on the Roof Sing-A-Long
Sunday, May 19 at 12:30 pm
Tim White—author, historian, performer, professor, and one of our library’s all-time favorites—will return to the library with Jessica Katz to lead a rousing group sing-a-long while viewing the 1971 hit film, Fiddler on the Roof.  Patrons are encouraged to come in costume and join in the fun!