Invitation to Tradition
Posted on: 1st September 2014 09:17:33

Welcome to the September 2014 Edition  ~ Fiddler on the Roof!


As summer closes, school begins and we realize the Holiday Season will soon be upon us, September is a perfect time to reflect upon our place in the family/world!


Movies and Music invites you to open your invitation to travel to Anatevka~ a village, which thrives on tradition, and provides a great backdrop for this month’s thought provoking question to clinicians educators and families:


Why Fiddler?


Tevye said it best:


A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it's so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home... And how do keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word... Tradition.”

What a great opening! A discussion of tradition gives clinicians and families the opportunity to reminisce  about everything from why we sing three verses of Happy Birthday?  to why the satin balls go on the bottom of the Christmas tree?

The next line allows educators to open a discussion about the culture in which these characters find themselves:

"Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything... how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl... This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you - I don't know. But it's a tradition... Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."

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?”


For students a discussion of societal roles can include:


  • What motivates the parents to “marry off” their daughters?
  • Why do the daughters accept this?


  • What changes make the daughters question their place in the world? (“We gave each other a pledge”. “Papa the world is changing!”)


  • What drives Tevye to rebel against these changes?


  •  What changes his mind when Tzietel and Hodel  “make their own matches”?


  • Why can’t Teyve accept Chava’s Choice in a marriage partner?



  • As the story concludes, how do all the characters deal with the loss of their beloved Anatevka?


  • What do they feel as they embark on an adventure in a “new world”?


Societal/culture changes, character motivations, young girls growing into strong women and questioning their place in the world~ great topics that will keep the conversation going all month long!


Don’t forget your older generation clientele/family members. When discussing change in the world these folks have seen the most and can tell stories that will fill many an hour.


Stories ranging from growing up in the depression to growing up too fast “I was ten years older than my next sibling … I helped raise my brothers and sister”, to changes in living situations, “ we lived everywhere… I was a military brat.” “We were considered wealthy in my neighborhood, my father was a physician”. 


Encourage these stories! Revel in them. Keep the conversation going.


Feel free to sing-a-long with Matchmaker and If I Were a Rich Man until the Sunrise/Sunset.


The longer the older generation can communicate the greater their autonomy.  The happier they will be. Remember, happy clients/family members make dealing with the biggest change in aging, (memory loss), that much easier.


Ease into Fiddler on the Roof and make it a Tradition every September!



Movies and Music travels to Plymouth, MA for the Massachusetts Council of Activity Professionals  (MassCap) Convention October 16-17   @ the Radisson! See you there!


~~ Lori


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