Every Likeness is not Alike!

An excerpt from Chava, the fifth story of the Tevye the Dairyman series. As featured in  Sholem Aleichem:Laughing in the Darkness, directed by Joseph Dorman (2011; New York City, NY: Docurama, 2013), DVD.

The tales of Tevye the Dairyman are among the finest stories  Sholom Aleichem wrote. Tevye struggles to uphold tradition in the face of social tumult, and is pushed to his limit by the scandalous elopement of his daughter Chava with the gentile Fyedka. In the extract read in the clip above Tevye expresses a sentiment that finds an echo years later in  Sholom Aleichem’s Ethical Will. The starkness of Aleichem statement that he would disown a child who abandoned the Jewish faith might seem shocking to many today. Yet for Aleichem, who lived through a profoundly turbulent and precarious chapter in Jewish history, such a measure seemed necessary to protect a civilization from collapse.