Remembering Topol

Remembering Topol
Remembering Topol

Many actors portrayed Fiddler on the Roof’s Tevye, but Topol’s Tevye was Tevye. Every actor since tried to match him — The way Topol performed the made-up words in the songs was charming. The way he spoke to himself and to God put you in the conversation. And he genuinely conveys the pain of being forced to reconcile with his daughters, family, faith and community.

The Forward remembers Topol with the history of how he was cast for the movie. “While Topol did go on to play Tevye many times onstage over the years, it was that first London run that was to change his life forever. In February, 1968, the very last week he was in the show, Norman Jewison, future director of the film, was in the audience.”

JTA’s essay is worth reading, as it recounts how Topol turned Fiddler into a Zionist movement. Zero Mostel starred on Broadway but Topol scored the film role. “With an Israeli in the lead, a musical about the perils and dilemmas of Diaspora became a film about Zionism.”

Famous Israelis marked the Topol’s passing. Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog said Topol was “one of the most outstanding Israeli actors,” who “filled the movie screens with his presence and above all entered deep into our hearts.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Topol’s “contribution to Israeli culture will continue to exist for generations.” Benny Gantz, Israel’s former minister of defense, said Topol helped Israelis connect to their roots.“We laughed and cried at the same time over the deepest wounds of Israeli society,” he wrote of Topol’s performance. Yair Lapid, head of Israel’s opposition, said Topol taught Israelis “love of culture and love of the land.”

Partly, Fiddler is just a great musical, with great songs, that hit stage and film at the right time. But partly, it’s Tevye – that is, Topol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Who’s actually for Democracy in Israel?
How does democracy in Israel work? Which side better represents democracy?

Who’s actually for Democracy in Israel?

If you are paying attention to news recently, you may think that Prime Minister

Censorship Plagues Passover Freedom: Being Censored by my Fellow Jews Doesn’t Make Me Free This Passover
Being censored by my fellow Jews makes Passover hard to celebrate this year

Censorship Plagues Passover Freedom: Being Censored by my Fellow Jews Doesn’t Make Me Free This Passover

Being Jewish, I look forward to Passover every year