Letter to the Editor

Fiddler on the Roof

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Editor,

Nobody would have guessed that artist Marc Chagall's painting, known as "Fiddler on the Roof," would be the inspiration for a musical and 1971 movie.

Back in 1995, I was in Israel learning about Christian and Jewish religious sites. Tour guides pointed out a modernistic stained glass window at Hebrew University by Chagall.

Marc Chagall was born in 1887 at Leioznas, Russia, near Vitebsk His Hebrew name was Moishe Shagal. Khatski Shagal, his father, was a fishmonger. His mother sold groceries.

Jews were severly persecuted by the Russians. Young Moishe (later known as Marc) wanted to attend a Russian school. Jews weren't allowed there. His mother secretly paid 50 rubels to the head master to enroll him.

Eventually, Chagall opened an art school in St. Petersburg, Russia. He married Bella Rosenfeld, a young Jewish woman, while he was there.

Marc and Bella moved to Paris, France. He thrived in the art world of that city. His bright cloud-shaped creations were featured on stained glass. He also painted portraits and did lithographs. Then, the Nazi's invaded France.

The Chagalls left Paris to escape death and persecution. They went to New York City and settled in a Jewish section there. It was a happy and pleasant life. Then suddenly in 1944, Bella died of complications from influenza.

In 1948, Marc Chagall returned to France. Fellow artists, Pablo Picasso and Henri Mattise, befriended him and praised his work. He died in 1985. He and his wife, Bella, are buried at St. Paul De Vence, France.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

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