WPL: Thank You!

WithRichWPLTodah Rabah, Sheynem Dank, and Huge Thanks to everyone at Wilmette Public Library who helped to make my 8/19 lecture possible and to everyone who came to cheer me on 🙂


“Fiddler on the Roof. The opening night of the first Broadway production—opening night on Broadway—was September 22nd, 1964. So a month from now, we will celebrate the first opening night performance of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.

Let me tell something you that you may or may not already know.Fiddler on the Roof was not expected to succeed. Fiddler on the Roof was expected to fail. Potential backers were merciless when the Fiddler team went out for funding. “What are you going to do when you run out of Hadassah ladies?” they sneered. Now forget about the fact that we will never run out of Hadassah ladies, just ponder this for yourself: Obviously the number of Hadassah ladies—may they live long and prosper—is a bare fraction of a fraction of the number of people who have now seenFiddler on the Roof in the past 50 years, right? Of course right! So how did this thing that was supposed to fail become such a success that 50 years later we are celebrating its 50th Anniversary?

One of the wonderful things about an anniversary date is that it gives us an occasion to take stock of where we have come from, and then hopefully use those reflections as a springboard to where we might go next… And that’s what I want to do today. Here we are at the 50th Anniversary. Now where do we want to be at the 75th Anniversary?

Over 400 years after Shakespeare first performed Hamlet, people are still talking about Hamlet, and I completely believe that a hundred years from now, 200 years from now, maybe even 400 years from now, people will still be talking about Fiddler On The Roof too. Why? Because Fiddler On The Roof is so perfectly constructed and so timely and so beautiful that it is now one of those resonate classics that people will talk about as long people care about culture.”


See all PowerPoint slides used in this presentation: 14Aug11YIVO


Knowing of my obsession with Fiddler on the Roof, Susan Lynn Stone brought me this wonderful poster all the way from Warsaw (where she was doing ongoing research on Jewish folklore). Thank you, Susan!!!

Top Photo: With my wonderful husband Richard Bayard Miller. (Photo: Susan)

Middle Photo = With Susan & the poster. Click HERE for Susan’s website. (Photo: Rich)

Good News/Bad News? Just like Goldilocks, there was too much light at NPL, and too little light ar HWLC, but WPL was “just right.”


This lecture is dedicated to my grandmother — Sophie Hecht — who was born in Grodna in the Russian “Pale of Settlement” (a place she referred to as “Russia/Poland”). This city is now called Hrodno, Belarus.

Hrodno is located midway between Rozhanka (now Poland) where Jerome Robbins’ father was born and Vitebsk (also now Belarus) where Marc Chagall as born.


The photo of my grandparents — Harry & Sophie Hecht — was taken in the mid-20s, sometime before my mother Helene (their first child) as born in 1928.

Harry & Sophie had three children (Helene, Claire, and Edmund). At the time of her death in 1975, Sophie had 8 grandchildren. Were she alive today, Sophie would have 7 great-grandchildren, with a new generation probably arriving very soon.

Several of Sophie’s siblings were also living in America at the start of WWII, but some of the younger siblings–plus their spouses, children, and extended families–were lost in the Holocaust. May their memories be for blessing. (Photo: Susan)

Tags: Belarus, Chicago YIVO Society, Fiddler on the Roof, Grodna, Hrodno, Jan Lisa Huttner, Pale of Settlement, Susan Lynn Stone, Susan Stone Storyteller, Wilmette Public Library
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