". . . without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as . . .
as a fiddler on the roof . . ."

  • Song Found On:
    "Fiddler on the Roof" Film Soundtrack or Cast Album
  • Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway 1965. The musical was based on Sholem Aleichem's stories. It won 9 Tony Awards including "Best Musical" and "Best Leading Actor" (Zero Mostel as Tevye). The original production ran for seven years, nine months, setting a record at the time for long-running Broadway shows (musical or nonmusical) with 3,242 performances. The movie based on the play was produced in 1971. It won 3 Academy Awards including "Music, Adaptation and Original Song Score" by John Williams. The show was one of the few truly international Broadway Musical smashes and continues to be performed throughout the world today.

    The song "Tradition" illustrates how personal, family and social values may find themselves in conflict with dissimilar public school values and emerging national and world situations outside the home and community.

    Are family values (a hot topic in today's education) easy to deal with in school? Are the obvious? Are they universal? How do they interact with values at school? Where should the school be in terms of family values?

  • Mindy Grosser, a recent Found 3708 student, felt a special connection to this song. Click here take a look at her reflections.


sung by
Zero Mostel & Chorus


"A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it's so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home... And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word... Tradition."

Tradition, tradition... tradition

"Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything... how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl... This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you - I don't know. But it's a tradition... Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."

(Tevye & Papas)
Who day and night
Must scramble for a living
Feed the wife and children
Say his daily prayers
And who has the right
As master of the house
To have the final word at home?

The papa, the papas... tradition

(Golde & Mamas)
Who must know the way to make a proper home?
A quiet home, a kosher home
Who must raise a family and run the home
So papa's free to read the holy book?

The mama, the mama... tradition

At three I started Hebrew school
At ten I learned a trade
I hear they picked a bride for me
I hope... she's pretty

The sons, the sons... tradition

And who does mama teach
To mend and tend and fix
Preparing me to marry
Whoever papa picks?

The daughters, the daughters... tradition

"And in the circle of our little village, we have always had our special types. For instance, Yente, the matchmaker..." "And Nahum, the beggar..." And most important, our beloved Rabbi..." "And among ourselves, we get along perfectly well. Of course, there was the time when he sold him a horse, but delivered a mule, but that's all settled now. Now we live in simple peace and harmony and..."

Tradition, tradition... tradition
Tradition, tradition... tradition

"Tradition. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as a fiddler on the roof!"