Posts tagged " Fiddler on the Roof "

Rush to Judgment; Ambling to Correction

November 18th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 4 comments
In my last Musing,  I questioned the “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump,” shouted out at a performance of Fiddler on the Roof. I didn’t know what was wrong with the reporting, but I wasn’t willing to automatically accept the “white-supremacist blame it on Trump” story.
Turns out he is an anti-Trump (presumably liberal?) man who was drunk and did shout this out, but as a way of insulting the President.
Would you believe that headlines, like the one on the Huffington Post that are giving the follow-up, mention an apology by the man but don’t correct the misinterpretation of his act? You have to read the whole story to shatter the white-supremacist myth. This means most people will be left misled.

That Old Time Religion

March 1st, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 4 comments

May I introduce you to one of the most anti-Semitic songs in our popular culture? The lamentable lyrics can be heard in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye strides center stage, flings his arms wide, and to a bewitching beat, bellows the word “Tradition.”

I dislike that song because it offers a false explanation for religious ritual. Saying that we Jews observe many of the rituals that our grandparents did is true. Saying that we do those things because of our reverence for tradition is utterly misleading.

If tradition were everything in Judaism, it would raise the question of why Orthodox Jews should be allowed to travel by Cadillac or fly the Concord rather than confine their transport to wagons or even camels. I dislike this distortion of Judaism because it has helped to fuel mass defection from the community. Indeed, it is hard for me to see how I myself could embrace a rigorous regimen of religious observance strictly because my father did it before me and his father, in turn, before him. I am not a mindless automaton and I don’t care to ape ineffective activities of our ancestors just because they are ancient. No, I prefer my actions to have good reasons. One good reason might he that God commanded me to do them, which is quite different from saying I do them because of tradition.

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