20 2018

Fiddling With Tradition

2:00PM - 4:45PM  

Jimmie Regional Library 2902 W Bearss Ave

sponsored by Humanistic Jews of Tampa Bay


Historian Jeff Lipkes will discuss the transformations undergone by the Tevye stories of the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem when they crossed the Atlantic, and what these changes reveal about how the American descendants of Eastern European Jews perceived their past and their relations with gentiles, and especially intermarriage.  We’ll be watching Maurice Schwartz’s 1939 film Tevye (Yiddish with English subtitles) and comparing it to both the 1964 Broadway production and to Norman Jewison’s 1971 film adaptation, as well as to the original stories.  We’ll also consider the “Bible” of the creators of Fiddler on the Roof, Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog’s classic account of the shtetl, Life Is With People.  Attendees should watch on youtube the following excerpts from Fiddler:  “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker,” “Fyedka and Chava,” “Perchik,” and “Sabbath Prayer.”  The original Tevye stories are available in three English translations for those interested.


The event will take place on Sunday, May 20, from 2:00 to 4:45, at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearrs Ave.


Jeff Lipkes has taught modern European history at U.S.F., Eckerd, and Florida Southern.  He has written books on John Stuart Mill and on the German invasion of Belgium in World War I, translated Henri Pirenne’s Belgium and the First World War, and edited a collection of letters of British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey.  Born and raised in L.A., he was educated at Berkeley and Princeton (Ph.D. 1995), and taught at Northwestern and Penn State before moving to Tampa.  Lipkes is the organizer of Humanistic Jews of Tampa Bay.