Dewsbury Collegians singer takes to the stage in 100-year-old shawl

REHEARSING: Michael Siegel, with the prayer shawl, and his daughter, Caitlin. (d24051271)
REHEARSING: Michael Siegel, with the prayer shawl, and his daughter, Caitlin. (d24051271)

singer Michael Siegel will honour his grandfather’s memory when he takes to the stage in the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof.

Michael, a member of Dewsbury Collegians, is playing Tevye, the milkman with five daughters, in the show at Dewsbury Town Hall from June 12 to 16.

In the show he will wear a prayer shawl, dating back more than 100 years, which belonged to his grandfather.

Myer Sieglnitsky was born and lived in a small village in Lithuania until he was forced to leave during a wave of pogroms against the Russian Jews in the early 20th century.

Michael, a sales consultant from Batley, said: “My grandfather and the other villagers were forced to leave due to the destruction of their homes and feared for their lives.

“My grandfather, who was just a teenager, made a decision to leave Lithunia during this time to avoid the uprising. He packed a suitcase and made his way to America through Ellis Island where the authorities changed his name to Siegel.

“He took a suitcase of belongings and clothes and one of the items was his prayer shawl.”

Michael later found the shawl among his late father’s possessions and it has become a treasured family heirloom.

“When I got the lead in Fiddler on the Roof, I thought it would an ideal opportunity to honour my grandfather by wearing the prayer shawl,” said Michael.

The show will be performed nightly at 7.15pm. For tickets, priced £8-£12.50, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls or phone 01924 324501.