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Cranky Complaints Lady takes on… Tevye!

You tell me.  Maybe I’m just especially tired, but I’m not sure if I was right to complain or if I should just drop this.  Read on and let me know.

I got an email the other day from the Stratford Festival, which is a Big Deal here.  Toronto has plays and culture and whatnot, but Stratford, an hour and a half away, is one of Canada’s premier cultural festivals (with such a long season - from April to November – that it feels more like a permanent fixture).  Anyhoo.

Last year, I took Elisheva to see Much Ado About Nothing there, because I got a notice of $10 school and homeschool performances.  $10!  It was fun.  The drive was long, yes, but my mother stayed with the little kids and we had a decent time.

So yesterday, I got an email from them and noticed that one of the $10 shows was Fiddler on the Roof

Well, yay!  Right?  I emailed my family right away asking who wanted to come with us.  A Thursday in May, easy!  I even checked to make sure it was after Lag b’Omer so we could listen to live music.  (Yes, I realize there are many aspects of the play that are not entirely appropriate, on several levels.  Its rosy portrayal of the shtetl – well, things were never like that.  And the daughters rebelling, even intermarrying – not sure I wanted the kids to see that but decided the younger ones probably wouldn’t know what was going on anyway.  And (note to Tevye) I want my kids to know that you don’t have to dance with your wife to show her you love her!)

But then my mother emailed me back to say that the date was NOT fine… it was Shavuos.  Oy.  So naturally, I emailed to kvetch.

You probably didn't realize when you made this offer, but the date of the Fiddler on the Roof performance, May 16, is actually one of 3 major Jewish festivals throughout the year.

Since the play itself is of such great interest to a Jewish audience, and since (as homeschoolers on a single income!) I'm wondering if it might be possible to extend this offer to another date which does not conflict with Jewish observance so I could share this wonderful play with my kids.

(we did attend a Shakespeare performance last year and loved it!)

Nice, polite, not really all that worked up… until I got their reply (emphasis mine):

Thank you for your email.

The Stratford Festival is aware of all major Jewish Festivals and we can appreciate that May 16 is a date that will not work for you and your family. We will continue to email you Home School ticket offers which may include other performances of Fiddler on the Roof throughout the season. All weekday matinees of Fiddler in April, May and June are priced at only $29 for students and for all other performances children under 18 are priced at $36.

In the meantime, please continue to check your inbox for future Home School offers.

After a few deep breaths, here’s what I sent back:

Thanks so much for getting back to me quickly.
I'm sure no offense was meant, but I was nevertheless taken aback that you referred to the entire spectrum of observant Jews - millions of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews worldwide who observe this day as sacred - as "you and your family."  Jews are indeed a family, but it is one I felt was also an important part of Canada's cultural milieu.
(Also, I suppose I was giving you the benefit of the doubt in suggesting, initially, that you were not aware that the date of this offer coincided with a Jewish holiday.  Your response suggests that it was intentional - or at least, that this fact was considered and ultimately disregarded.)
I did already know that we could spend three times the price for each person and come see the show on another day.  We are a homeschooling family of six, getting by on a single income, and that will not be an option for us.  That's why I emailed asking for special consideration, given the nature of this particular play.
Thank you anyway,

I guess you could say I’m in a huff.  But be honest… would this have offended you? 

Was I right to take offense, or should I have dropped it???


  1. You're a customer and you have a right to complain. As you may know, Shavuot is a holiday that pretty much doesn't exist for many Jews.


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