web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Inspiring Jews One Song At A Time

Photo credits Yissachar Ruas and Nava Finkelman

Photo credits Yissachar Ruas and Nava Finkelman

Long before Matityahu and way before the Maccabeats, when Jewish music that wasn’t cantorial, Yiddish or Borsht Belt was in its infancy, Lenny Solomon gave birth to Shlock Rock  Although shlock is a Yiddish word meaning second hand, cheap or inferior, there is nothing shoddy about the music that Lenny Solomon has been writing for three decades – it’s the music that leads Jews home.

I catch Lenny in his Beit Shemesh home where he lives with his wife and four daughters. He is between tours, returning from the Pacific and Eastern United States and getting ready for another one in the American Midwest (Lenny is on tour 3-4 months a year in 2-3 week stints).

This January marks 28 years (which is the gematria of koach – strength) since the first cassette of Shlock Rock came out and the 53 year-old Solomon is still going strong.

Shlock Rock has a simple message – Judaism is fun – and a simple goal: to inspire people to feel good about Judaism. Solomon has produced 35 albums: 15 Shlock Rock parodies, 14 original music albums and 6 albums for preschoolers. He’s sold about 200,000 albums all together, which may not sound like a lot to someone like Billy Joel, but per capita, Solomon is doing pretty well.

“There isn’t a concert I play where someone doesn’t come up to me and tell me I’ve changed their lives. After the release of my first album back in 1986, a woman in Florida wrote to tell me that her brother, who doesn’t even like Judaism, hasn’t stopped listening to my album.  That was a sign for me to keep going.” That’s the kind of success that can’t be measured in gold albums.

Most musicians, including Solomon, have suffered from having their songs uploaded on YouTube and downloaded on MP3 players, which have led to sales going down by 80-90%. That may mean that Solomon might not be making any more Shlock Rock albums. On the other hand, since he lives to educate and inspire people about Judaism, getting his message across couldn’t be easier and, since many of Solomon’s songs are on YouTube, there are a lot of people hearing the message who might otherwise not have.

But creative artists always find new vehicles for expression and Solomon is no different. His new project is a biblical rock opera he wrote called Daniel in Babylon, à la “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and is set to premiere off-Broadway this summer with an 18-20 member cast. It is the story of Daniel’s life and his relationship with three kings – Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius the Mede – the story of the prototypical Jew in galut. The musical will hopefully have kfitzat derech to Broadway. Saltsman-013114-Concert

Who says you can’t go home again? Originally from Queens, Solomon and his British-born wife have made Israel their home for the last 18 years. Trained as an accountant, Solomon made his first album and hasn’t looked back.

Unlike many musicians who pursue fame unrelentingly, Solomon has had fame pursue him. One project has led to another and he has seen his share of hashgacha pratit.

In 2009, he had been waiting five years to release an album called A Shabbat in Liverpool featuring 27 Beatles songs set to 21 prayers and zmirot. He was in Minneapolis and met with Rabbi Chaim Goldberger who asked what was doing with the album. Solomon’s inability to get licensing was holding up the release.

“Hashem doesn’t want it to come out,” Solomon said.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Inspiring Jews One Song At A Time”

  1. Michael Bram says:

    When I was living in North Dakota some stranger sent me one of his tapes (yea, I’m old) in a Chanukah care package. It was just about my only connection to anything Jewish in that wilderness. It had a huge impact on me and now I’m an orthodox rabbi.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Indepth Stories
Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

More Articles from Rosally Saltsman
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Nissim Menashe 50, a resident of Petach Tikvah, celebrated last Israel Independence Day like most of the country, he had a barbecue with his family. It was a memorable event. He was standing close to the grill as a relative went to light it but because of the wind, the flame ignited the bottle of lighting […]

book-Headlines-Halachic

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

For those who doubt or entirely disbelieve the phenomenon, this book will change your mind.

Today’s smiles are in the merit of my friend and I made a conscious effort to smile throughout the day.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

“My mother raised us to independence, all of us,” Rivka says, which certainly plays itself out in the fact that all three children have taken a different path.

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

He has always supported the underdog, once even quite literally, legislating a law that prohibits the abandonment of pets.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/inspiring-jews-one-song-at-a-time/2014/01/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: