In honor of its last show in East Meadow, Temple Emanu-El is performing Fiddler on the Roof— the same show that re-launched its musical theater program in 2003.
Based on Sholom Aleichem’s "Tevye and his Daughters,” the musical follows the story of the small, tradition-steeped town of Anatevka, Russia, where Jews and Russians live in delicate balance. It’s a tale of endings and beginnings, said Lisa Shubin, the assistant to the producer, “and that’s what our congregation is going through right now.”
Shubin referred to a merger between Temple Emanu-El of East Meadow and Temple B’Nai Torah of Wantagh. After 68 years of hosting religious services, the synagogue will be experiencing its own new beginning.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” said Rabbi Daniel Bar-Nahum of Temple Emanu-El. “But it’s something that we need to do to ensure that we provide the best religious experience for our congregants.”
Bar-Nahum said that the idea of merging Temple Emanu-El with a nearby synagogue arose three years ago after the executive board concluded that the number of congregants was slowly decreasing year after year.
The merger will commence in July and, until then, Temple Emanu-El congregants are experiencing heartfelt goodbyes to their East Meadow location. They performed Fiddler on the Roof to a sold-out audience on Jan. 13, the second night of their production.
Shubin said the experience was meaningful on a personal level, as she was involved with the congregation during its 2003 production. “It’s when my family fell in love with musical theater,” she added, recalling when her daughters would dance around her house singing “Matchmaker.”
Shubin’s husband Tom Reilly and her daughters, Elizabeth, Alana and Sarah, all performed in this year’s performance and Shubin made her acting debut in one song.
Temple Emanu-El will be holding two more performances of Fiddler on the Roof on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. and 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors and $9 for children under 18.