But, just for once, couldn’t you choose someone else?”
( a cry for help from Tevye the Milkman in ‘Fiddler on the Roof‘)
Fiddler on the Roof was originally titled Tevye. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman)and other tales by Sholem Aleichem that he wrote in Yiddish and published in 1894. The musical’s title stems from the painting “The Fiddler” by Marc Chagall, The Fiddler is a metaphor for survival, through tradition and joyfulness, in a life of uncertainty and imbalance.
I think almost everyone knows of Tevye, trying to reconcile his traditional Jewish life in a rapidly changing world. The background story highlights the developing anti–Semitism in Russia, culminating in a series of attacks on Jews and Jewish property. These attacks are now called “Pogroms“.
Although occurring sporadically from 1821, the first wave of seriously concentrated Pogroms took place from 1881-1884. There were around 200 separate events centred, interestingly, in territories that later became Poland and the Ukraine.
In view of what happened there in later years, one can understand that the hatred of Jews was deep and systemic. A second wave of Pogroms took place from 1903-1906. Thousands of Jews were massacred. Many Jews emigrated and sought refuge in Europe and America.
Unfortunately, those that chose Europe, were not aware that they were condemning their children and grandchildren to the horrors of the death camps, generations later.
Being the “Chosen People” is one thing; being singled out for extermination from the face of the earth is another.
But I am not entering further into the issue of the Holocaust-I don’t want to get that heavy. On the contrary, I thought you mind find these little doggerel verses quite amusing.
The first by William Norman Ewer:
Elicited this response from Leo Rosten:
But I prefer this from Cecil Brown ( or, maybe Ogden Nash. Attribution not clear)
But not so odd
As those who choose
A Jewish God
Yet spurn the Jews
But, from my Athiest perspective, I like this one from an anonymous source:
One thing is absolutely clear. For a myriad of reasons, both rational and irrational, Jews ARE different. Or, at least, are perceived as being different. And those that live in Israel carry the additional burden of their Israeli citizenship. I don’t mean the military burden, or the fact of having to serve in the IDF, although that is part of it.
A few statistics
6.0 million Jews ( I HATE that number!) live in Israel.
They represent 0.1% of a world population of 7.0 billion. That works out to around 1000 non Jews to 1 Israeli Jew. I assume this figured in the calculation for the recent release of Gilad Shalit when 1025 Arabs were exchanged for him!
Israel is a miniscule strip of land of 21,000 square km.
The surface of the world is 510,072,000 square km.
I think that means we inhabit 0.00004% of the world surface ( but I don’t guarantee the math)
So, taking all of the above into account – how come the world seems unable to get by without condemning us for something every day?
Maybe to do with the fact that Moses took a wrong turn in the desert? So the Arabs got all the oil and we got none?
Perhaps it’s that (so far) we refused to lose any of the wars designed to wipe us from the face of the Earth?
Could be too much exposure to the Arab and Palestinian PR machine working flat out to delegitimise Israel at any and every opportunity.
And there are always our friends in the UN:
“of over 700 General Assembly resolutions passed since the UN’s 1945 establishment, nearly 450 condemn Israel. None have been passed against any Arab country nor any Arab terrorist organizations! In other words, out of 190 nations in the United Nations, over sixty percent of all General Assembly resolutions condemned just ONE member, Israel! “http://www.masada2000.org/UN.html
That’s one hell of a record. Any possibility that there could be any connection to anti-Semitism?
Maybe it’s just jealousy.
Like too many Nobel Prize Winners:
Israel ( Pop. 6.0 million) – 10 winners
All Arab and Muslim nations together( Pop. 1.4 billion) – 10 winners.
Jews (0.2% of the world population) represent around 20% of all prizewinners since the awards began in 1901.
“Between 1901 and 2011, around 850 laureates have been awarded Nobel Prizes.
Of these, at least 170 are Jews”
There is no doubt that the Jewish contribution to the development of mankind is without parallel in world history. The Jews were certainly chosen by some force of nature to make their unique mark in areas both spiritual and physical.
One day, historians might speculate on the reasons that caused so many to work so assiduously to remove the “Jewish menace”.
One thing is for sure. Had the Jews not existed, someone would have needed to invent them.
It’s not that easy to find such convenient scapegoats!
Andyboy-Telling it as it is
- Tevye-isms: The wit and wisdom of a poor milkman (kitsapsun.com)