After Anatevka follows Sholom Aleichem’s timeless character, Tevye the milkman, as he moves his family from Russia to a kibbutz in Palestine. Tevye, the wisecracking, Bible-quoting man of God, tells the story against the backdrop of the battle between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land prior to the establishment of Israel. Tevye must adjust to the secular lifestyle on the kibbutz and struggle with the conflict between the kibbutzniks’ “religion” of labor and his own Jewish beliefs. The clash between tradition and life in Palestine also manifests itself in Tevye’s relationship with his daughters, who become assimilated into the kibbutz culture. For Tevye’s wife, Golde, the most important thing in life remains keeping the family together, even as circumstances force them apart. Millions of people are familiar with Fiddler on the Roof, which was an amalgamation of stories about Tevye and his family. Sholom Aleichem wrote other stories involving Tevye, however, that were not in Fiddler. After Anatevka is inspired by one of those stories, “Tevye Goes To Palestine.”
May 13, 2013
Courtesy of Mitchell Bard
- Why did the author choose to have Tevye and his family move to Palestine rather than the US?
- Would you consider the book to be a modern version of the story of exodus?
- Did Tevye’s character as portrayed in the book change from the Tevye we met in Fiddler of the Roof? How did Teyve change through the course of the book?
- How did Tevye deal with the socialist way of life in the kibbutz after living in a traditional religious society?
- Are there any new themes explored in the book as compared to those in Fiddler on the Roof?
- Did the book capture the tragedy and joy behind the founding of the Jewish State? How?
- Did you get a sense for what kibbutz life was like? How was it different than modern day kibbutz?
- Why would people form the kibbutz go to Tevye to learn about religion?
- How did Tevye’s ambition to be rich change once he moved to the Kibbutz and lived a non-materialistic life?
- Did Tevye try to control the lives of his daughters in this book as he did in Fiddler on the Roof?
- The daughters grew up in a different environment. How did that affect their choices for their own future?
- Does the character of Bernice resemble any real political figure? Is she a role model?
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