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B’nai Sholom to Screen Historic Treasure “Tevye”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of “Fiddler on the Roof,” B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will present a screening of “Tevye,” the 1939 masterpiece that was selected as the first non-English language film to be included in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress

 “Tevye” will be shown Saturday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. at B’nai Sholom, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, N.Y.

 Rabbi Don Cashman, B’nai Sholom’s spiritual leader, will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward. “Fiddler on the Roof” provided the theme for Rabbi Cashman’s four High Holy Day sermons.

 Refreshments will be available. Suggested contribution: $3.

 Maurice Schwartz’s adaptation of the classic Sholem Aleichem stories centers on Khave, Tevye the Dairyman’s daughter, who falls in love with Fedye, the son of a Ukrainian peasant. Her courtship and marriage pit Tevye’s love for his daughter against his deep-seated faith and loyalty to tradition. The clash between tradition and modernity, parental authority and love, customs and enlightenment are foreshadowed by the anti-Semitism of the rural community. Tevye’s world is a microcosm of the larger world of Russian Jewry in the early 1900s.

 ”From the time the last of the eight Tevye stories was written in 1916, until the curtain rose on ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in 1964, there were several renderings of these tales on stage and screen,” said Rabbi Cashman. “This 1939 treasure, closer to the author and his world in time, and in his own language, will be a welcome treat for us to enjoy, and will give us a new way of thinking about the characters.”

“Tevye” was filmed at the Underhill Farm just east of Jericho, Long Island. The 96-minute black-and-white film is in Yiddish with English subtitles. Film restoration and new English subtitles are by The National Center for Jewish Film (www.jewishfilm.org).

Following its rescue and restoration by The National Center for Jewish Film, “Tevye” was declared a “national treasure” in 1991 when it was named to the National Film Registry.

 “With all due respect to Zero Mostel and Topol in Fiddler on the Roof, it was Maurice Schwartz, the great Yiddish actor/director, who first showed Tevye the Dairyman in his full light as a mensch for all seasons. A rare opportunity to see Schwartz in what may have been his most magnificent role,” wrote Judy Stone in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The black and white print, rescued from nitrate, is gorgeous. It couldn’t have looked much different when the film was released…Bravo!” raved Kirk Honeycutt of the (Southern Calif.) Daily News.

For more information, visit www.bnaisholomalbany.org or contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us.

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