Based on a Jewish folk tale adapted by playwright John Lazarus, this animated short tells the story of Shmendrik, a simpleton living in a small Polish village. Weary of daily life in his native Chelm, Shmendrik sets out on a quest for knowledge that brings him to a new Chelm, a place eerily reminiscent of his old Chelm. An amusing take on our tendency to romanticize what we don't have.
Ages 9 to 18
Study Guide - Guide 1
English Language Arts - Children's Stories/Fables
Media Education - Film Animation
Warnings: Be mindful of certain anti-Semitic stereotypes that have been portrayed through art in the 20th century.
Based on a Yiddish folk tale, this animated short tells the story of Shmendrik, who lives in the Polish village of Chelm. Discussion and activities will vary depending on the age of the viewer. Some viewers may need to fully discuss what happened in the story, whereas other viewers will be ready to compare this story to folk tales from other cultures. Possible topics to discuss include: Why do stories sometimes make characters out to be complete fools? Is Shmendrik right in thinking that all villages are essentially the same?