The ethical will of Sholom Aleichem, the pen name of Solomon Rabinowitz, whose stories became "Fiddler on the Roof," was read into the Congressional Record when he died in 1916. Here are excerpts from what has been called "one of the great ethical wills in history":
"Wherever I may die, let me be buried not among the rich and famous, but among plain Jewish people, the workers, the common folk, so that my tombstone may honor the simple graves around me, and the simple graves honor mine, even as the plain people honored their folk writer in his lifetime.
"No titles or eulogies are to be engraved on my tombstone, except the name Sholom Aleichem on one side and the Yiddish inscription, herein enclosed, on the other.
"Let there be no arguments or debates among my colleagues who may wish to memorialize me by erecting a monument in New York. I shall not be able to rest peacefully in my grave if my friends engage in such nonsense. The best monuments for me will be if my books are read, and if there should be among our affluent people a patron of literature who will publish and distribute my works in Yiddish or in other languages, thus enabling the public to read me and my family to live in dignity. If I haven't earned this in my lifetime, perhaps I may earn it after my death. I depart from the world with complete confidence that the public will not abandon my orphans.
"At my grave, and throughout the whole year, and then every year on the anniversary of my death, my remaining son and my sons-in-law, if they are so inclined, should say kaddish for me. And if they do not wish to do this, or if it is against their religious convictions, they may fulfill their obligations to me by assembling together with my daughters and grandchildren and good friends to read this testament, and also to select one of my stories, one of the really merry ones, and read it aloud in whatever language they understand best, and let my name rather be remembered by them with laughter than not at all . . .
"My last wish for my successors and my prayer to my children: Take good care of your mother, beautify her old age, sweeten her bitter life, heal her broken heart; do not weep for me -- on the contrary, remember me with joy; and the main thing -- live together in peace, bear no hatred for each other in bad times, think on occasion of other members of my family, pity the poor, and when circumstances permit, pay my debts, if there be any. Children, bear with honor my hard-earned Jewish name . . . and may God in Heaven sustain you ever. Amen."