All blessings are mixed blessings, as every Jew knows. The Enlightenment, modernism, and technology brought us liberation and fascism as well. The trains that transported us out of the shtetls later transported us into the camps, so though you might argue with the wise men of Kasrilevke…it’s easy to understand why they concluded: we were better off without the train. The refugees of Holeneshti who haven’t perished in the storm in pogroms and anti-Semitic purges, will wander forth, displaced, liberated by the catastrophe of change, shtetl dwellers becoming ghetto dwellers becoming artists, cosmopolitans, socialists, or Zionists, or frequently both. Once free, free to wander; once wandering, longing for home. The exilic dialectic spins on.
— Tony Kushner, Forward to Sholem Aleichem’s Wandering Stars