Jewish cultural arts season is through the ‘Roof’

Cast members featured in the South Florida revival of "Fiddler on the Roof." (Joan Marcus/Courtesy)


When “Fiddler on the Roof” made its Broadway debut in 1964 starring Zero Mostel, I was too young to see that Tony Award-winning production, but later in life I did some catching up in a big way. 

In 2013, while on a mission to Israel with the Jewish Federation of Broward County, we toured the Jordan River Village, a respite for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. The camp’s chairman was none other than internationally- recognized Israeli actor Chaim Topol.

Known as Topol, the performing artist gained famed for portraying “Fiddler” icon Tevye the Dairyman character in scores of production revivals, as well as the film adaption of the play that earned Topol an Oscar nomination for best actor.

After he entertained our group with some memorable songs, I remarked that he looked different without his beard.

Or my padding,” he responded. 

South Florida venues will once again offer the chance to see the play based on the tales written by 19th century Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem, as well as indulge in other Jewish-themed offerings, as the cultural arts season kicks into full gear.

The current rival of “Fiddler” at the Arsht Center in Miami and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach leads a line up of endless theatrical, film, musical, art and literary opportunities coming to the community.

In November, area JCCs will feature authors and their works at Book Month events, while January will showcase international cinema at both the Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival and the Miami Jewish Film Festival.

Synagogues and other venues will pay tribute to both victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Temple Beth El of Boca Raton will present a cantorial concert dedicated to preserving the memory of the prisoners at the Theresienstadt Concentration camp during World War ll, and the Levis JCC in Boca Raton will screen “Witness Theater” during the annual Kristallnacht Film Forum. Both events take place Nov. 10.

Jewish culture that was once decimated by Nazi-occupied Europe has certainly made a comeback, and now the choices are limitless.

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