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Dear Ann,

Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. I get to host a family dinner that kicks off two days in the synagogue thinking about the year that has been, our relationships, our behavior, the ways we must change, what we value, what God wants from us, and on and on. It’s not lighthearted, but there is a lot of joy in it. The rabbis have got us for a good long time and we cover a lot of ground. The music is beautiful, with special tunes that are sung only in this season, and only in synagogue. It’s pretty great.

We start the meal with two challah loaves, which are round to symbolize the circle of a year. (I get mine from a non-Jewish bakery that knows to make them round this week. I love New York.) We also eat apples dipped in honey, hard-boiled eggs, and dishes involving sweetness and pomegranates. There are lots of possibilities but I tend to make the same menu every year. I’m sure I’m not the only one who throws in a couple of Passover recipes, like matzah balls in chicken soup and Mrs. Feinberg’s Vegetable Kugel. (Both recipes featured here.) Matzah balls are round, and Mrs. Feinberg’s kugel is sweet, and I will argue the point with any rabbi.

Trained by my local PBS stations, who know their audience, I like to watch certain films this time of year.

The crème de la sour cream of Jewish-themed movies — better than The Ten Commandments or Exodus, I say– is  Fiddler on the Roof.  I loved this 1971 movie when I was a Lutheran girl, and I love it as a grown-up Jewish lady. I loved it as a play on Broadway with Harvey Fierstein. It’s incredible.

You can watch it on Starz (which has a free trial) or rent it from Amazon.

On this Lazy Sunday, please make sure to biddy biddy bum all day long.




  • Let me recommend the book Wonder of Wonders: a cultural history of Fiddler but Alisa Solomon. Also the current production is marveloud. (Although I saw it with Danny Burstein who’s now my Tevye)

    Happy new year!

  • Shana Tova. “Sunrise, Sunset” INSTANTLY makes me sob!

  • I LOVE Fiddled On The Roof.

    You can also pick it up from your local library! Which I think I will do today. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • L’Shana Tova to you and your family! We have always had matzah ball soup for Rosh Hashanah as well — who says it’s only for Pesach?!

  • My son played the constable in his high school production. Best constable ever, even though he was mean to our heroes. All that by way of saying Happy New Year, Kay.

  • We put on the play in high school (1982!) Of course I wanted to be a daughter, but was cast as a villager. Those songs bring tears to my eyes.

  • May the New Year bring you much sweetness, joy, and beautiful yarn! I also have sudden urge to go re-watch FOTR. Another great although much grimmer movie is Defiance with Daniel Craig in which the rabbi in the group of refugees says something like, “We will spend this Passover as Jews have always spent it, by arguing.”

  • May your celebration be blessed. And I’m going to find my copy of Fiddler on the Roof too. I think it’s vintage VCR.

  • Perfect choice.( Also lots of shawls. ) This musical was so much the soundtrack of my youth that I can barely listen to a verse without getting weepy. My parents’ and aunts’ finest Fiddler moment was insisting my cousin and I watch it after we had little summer romances with (the cutest) guys on vacation who were not of the tribe, Oy the Guilt! (Worked for about 15 minutes). Shana tova to you and your fam! Xo

  • L’Shana Tovah to you and yours..

  • Happy New Year !!! I was fortunate to see Zero Mostel in Fiddler on The Roof back in the 60’s. What can I tell you, I’m old !!!

    • What can I tell you – you’re lucky! Zero Mostel, the defining Tevye!

    • I saw it with him in the 70s! I still remember it well, so well that although I was quite young I am uninterested in seeing any other production. Eventually when I got my own stereo as a teen my father gace me the 8 track of it.

      Happy New Year to all!

  • Tears in my eyes. I am a native New Yorker, but far from home and the ease with which NY welcomes the tradition and rituals of all. I watch the holiday services online, what a miracle! My late husband and I saw Fiddler on Broadway with Hershel Bernardi in the starring role. My uncle, also long gone, sang Sunrise, Sunset at every wedding. Wonderful memories. L’Shana Tova to you and yours, Kay.

  • L’Shana Tova. May the year ahead bring you sweetness and joy, and may you always find special peace and comfort in your knitting.


  • At ANY time of year, Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite movies. Maybe it’s because I’m the mother of five daughters?

  • Shana Tova and may you be inspired and encouraged for a wonder-full year.
    And on the biddy biddy bumming? It’s almost noon and I’m not even winded yet.

  • Here’s to a sweet year … for you and yours and everyone.

    I make that kugel as well … and have even made it with fake sugar for the Husbeast. It’s the rare recipe that works with fake sugar.

    “Fiddler” always feels like such an old chestnut … but do try and see the new version currently on Broadway … it was fresh and vital and energized and worth seeing before it closes by year’s end. It’s sometimes hard for me to watch the movie –my father loved it so.

    Off to put up my chicken soup and briscuit and kasha varniskes (a word autocorrect doesn’t seem to like). Honey Cakes and rugelach baked; round challah with raisins to follow.

  • I saw Fiddler on the Roof, as a child, with Topol in the lead, at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Must have been 7 or 8. Remember it very clearly! It was fantatstic!

  • Comment

  • This is a favorite with my family, and watching the trailer brings tears even to my Unitarian Universalist heart. My daughter, now 42, played Yente in a high school production, and the whole concept of the play is dear to me. L’shana tova to you and yours, dear Kay.

  • L’Shana Tovah to you! Wishing you many blessings.

    I am binge-watching Gilmore Girls (I had to hang in through Season 1 before I really started loving it) and the episode I watched last night had a Fiddler theme.

    • GG gets better and better until the last season (the motherforce left) but there are NEW GG coming … around Thanksgiving is the rumour… FOUR movie length episodes based on seasons… lots of info if you search… – (sorry this reply appears twice … dontknow how it got on the one below? )

  • L’shanah Tovah! Hope the year brings some new sweetness into your life, along with peace and health!
    Taking a break from cooking to note that I, too, saw Fiddler with the great Zero Mostel in the sixties. I didn’t want to leave the theater when it ended! A few years ago, my daughter the violinist was the “Fiddler in the Pit” for the national touring company. Talk about getting ferklempt!
    Have a wonderful Yom Tov!

    • GG gets better and better until the last season (the motherforce left) but there are NEW GG coming … around Thanksgiving is the rumour… FOUR movie length episodes based on seasons… lots of info if you search…

      • This reply is for the comment above sorry!

  • I too am a native New Yorker, a goyishe girl who grew up in a family that embraced Christianity and Judaism — and atheism, too:)! You are making me homesick for matzoh ball soup, the best chopped liver (Granny’s, of course!), learning to dance the Horah in gym class, singing Christian and Jewish songs in music class, ethical and religious debates that got heated but never cruel! We learned to never forget what hatred can do, that when all else fails, try love – it couldn’t hurt! I grew up fully believing that 1/3 of the world was Jewish. What a shock when we moved to Maryland:)!

    Most of all, I am homesick for those who have left us behind to try in our own way to continue their heritage of family and love.

    Happy New Year, Kay! L’shana tova!

  • This lapsed Episcopalian turned vaguel Spiritual lady loves Fiddler, too! A non-lapsed Unitarian Universalist friend just shared this Rosh Hashanah video on Facebook. It’s no Fiddler, and it looks to have been around since at least 2012, but I share its joyousness in case anybody else has missed it.

  • Love Fiddler on the Roof!!!!!

  • Fiddler is one of my (Catholic) husband’s favorite movies.

    L’Shana Tovah. We had last weekend with the family at my niece’s Bat Mitzvah, so lots of celebrations this year.

  • Wishing you all good (and sweet) things in the coming year. Fiddler is such a classic and one of my all time favorites too. This video was on Facebook and I loved the different voices in different places with the same thought.

  • L’Shana Tova! There used to be a wonderful Jewish bakery in San Antonio that made wonderful challah, which I learned about my best friend there, who was Jewish. So now I’m homesick again! I don’t suppose you have a favorite recipe for noodle kugel (the sweet kind)?

  • I freaking love Fiddler. The national tour with Topol was the first “real” show my parents took me to, when I was 12. I’ve seen it more than any other show, my favorite production being a national tour with Theodore Bikel. I finally got to be in a community theatre production ten years ago, as a villager (but I did get to be one of the soloists in “The Rumor”)…and spent the entire rehearsal process knitting away on scarves, as I was still a fairly new knitter at the time.

  • I’m sorry, the best Jewish movie is Avalon, directed by Barry Levinson. I have watched it at least a dozen times and it still makes me sad. It used to be on cable all the time, I dont know where it might be available now.

    L’shana Tova.

    • OMG YES! To this day, every time our grown kids show up with a gift or take us out to dinner, I look at my husband and say, “The fatha, the fatha!” (when they all came home and put money into his hat). Such a great movie!

  • There used to be a good documentary about Sholem Aleichem on Netflix (um, maybe Amazon). It inspired a spree of book buying…

  • Matzah balls are not just for chicken soup and not just at Passover. May I suggest matzah balls in cream of tomato soup (Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest) or in curried broccoli soup?

  • I saw Fiddler with Topol in 1989. Amazing. I always enjoy the stage show.
    Many blessings to you in the new year.

  • L’shava tovah! One sweet part of my day is checking in to see what you two are up to. Thanks for adding goodness and light to your corner of the knitting universe.

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