Far From Home
Posted on: 2nd September 2012 17:03:29

Welcome to the September 2012, Edition  -- Fiddler on the Roof!


During this time of political uproar, he said she said rhetoric, right vs. left and global economy vs. family dynamics, I think now is the time to slow down, take a breath and examine what shapes us as people, what drives us to succeed?  Family!  


Fiddler is one of the finest examples of family in musical film.


Tevye -- The Patriarch. He knows who he is, what is expected of him and he knows by virtue of his place in the family that he makes the important decisions  “Who, day and night, must scramble for a living, feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers? And who has the right, as master of the house, to have the final word at home?”


Golda – The Matriarch. “Who must know the way to make a proper home, a quiet home, a kosher home? Who must raise the family and run the home, so Papa's free to read the holy books?”


Tzietel, Hodel, Chava --- The Daughters –“Who does Mama teach to mend and tend and fix, preparing me to marry whoever Papa picks?”


As our story begins, each knows and respects his/her place in the family and is prepared to live by those traditions. However, when times change  (as they always do), we find the daughters have very different ideas about their place in the family and by extension the world.


We find that each daughter has her own plan for marriage: 


Tzietel tells her father “ We gave each other a pledge”.

Hodel: “Closing my heart to every hope but his.
Leaving the home I love.  There where my heart has settled long ago
I must go, I must go,
I must go”.

Chava: “The world is changing Papa…we want to be married!”

I find these women to be great examples of strength and independence in a time when this was frowned upon, when women had very little say regarding their destinies. 


When discussing their decisions with my patients whether in individual or group session, I find the women relate well to the decisions of these characters having had to make similar decisions in their lives as their husbands pursued military service.  


Men try to relate to Tevye’s feelings as patriarch, but often say it was "my wife who ruled the house”. 


The gentlemen share a bit of kinship with Tevye as they listen to If I Were a Rich Man. Many recall the difficulties of the Depression, listening to the politician’s promise of  “a chicken in every pot”. 


They, like Tevye, wished for a “big tall house with rooms by the dozen, right in the middle of the town.  A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below”. But settled for the tiny 3 - room apartment -- waiting for things to get better.


Unfortunately, things got worse before they got better. With the advent of World War II, as well as other military conflicts, my patients find themselves relating to Tevye’s departure from Anatevka with everything they own. “I’ve lived everywhere—my father was in the military”.


With each move, whether closer to family or further away, my group members say, it was the foundation of family which helped them, grow and build families of their own !


Thanks for looking in!



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See you in October as the Holiday Season Begins with a Halloween visit to the Smith Family in Meet Me in St. Louis




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