web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


The Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

“He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” – Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994.
Reb Shlomo Carlebach

Reb Shlomo Carlebach

More robust accounts of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s life have come to the surface following 20 years after he died on Oct. 20, 1994.

Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy.” This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s “The Soul of Jerusalem” hit the shelves.

But even the authors will admit that this larger-than-life, soul-hugging rabbi’s legacy cannot be fully captured in black-and-white pages.

“Shlomo did not seem to fit any restrictive, defining label,” Ophir told JNS.org. “Reb Shlomo was… a charismatic teacher who combined storytelling, sermonic exegesis, and inspirational insights into creating a new form of heartfelt, soulful Judaism filled with a love for all human beings.”

Carlebach, born in Germany from where his family fled following the Nazi invasion, immigrated to New York in March 1939 from Lithuania, just six months before the Nazis invaded that country. In 1945, the family moved to Manhattan so his father, Rabbi Naphtali Carlebach, could take over Congregation Kehilath Jacob on W. 79th Street. After his father’s passing, Carlebach assumed leadership of the synagogue, today known as “The Carlebach Shul.”

It was from his home base at The Carlebach Shul that Shlomo Carlebach set up the first known Hassidic outreach program, Taste and See God is Good (T.S.G.G.). According to Ophir, the organization was based on the idea that, as Carlebach said, “You cannot begin to talk to people about God unless you have first given them a taste of God is good.”

In 1968, Carlebach established the House of Love and Prayer in San Francisco, the first Jewish commune.

His empathetic approach toward the spiritual imports from the Far East was radical for an Orthodox rabbi,” said Ophir.

Everything Carlebach did was radical. He traveled to Germany in the 1960s to teach people whose parents had murdered scores of Jewish people that the time for peace and forgiveness had come, recalled Ben-Zion Solomon, whose home is next door to the late Carlebach’s in the central Israeli community of Moshav Mevo Modi’in, also known as the “Carlebach moshav.”

Carlebach was a scholar in his own right, studying at some of the most renowned American yeshivot. He later connected with the Lubavitch movement, whose leader at the time, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, encouraged him to go into outreach. This mandate was the start of what became his calling, serving as the rabbi of the hippie movement.

He had followers around the globe. Many young Jews returned to a Torah lifestyle as a result of their relationship with Carlebach.

His daughter Dari Carlebach said in a previous interview that her father was caught between two worlds—the religious/yeshiva world and the hippie world. She said her father had a huge desire “to love and heal the world,” and he did it with “such heart and grace and empathy.”

Shlomo Carlebach’s unbridled passion might account for why it has taken this long to begin to canonize his legacy. Solomon recounts the way that his rebbe could focus on whoever needed him at the time, that “whoever he was talking to, he became their best friend.”

Solomon and wife Dina met Carlebach in California. Carlebach encouraged Solomon to learn in Israel and eventually to make aliyah, and then handpicked his family to live on the Carlebach moshav.

Solomon recalled that when he arrived in Israel, he was told by the Orthodox-affiliated Diaspora Yeshiva that his wedding to Dina was not valid, as they did not have a ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract. He called Carlebach in a panic. The rabbi told him to get some wine and cake and meet him at the Shabbos House in Jerusalem at 1 a.m.

About the Author: www.JNS.org is an independent, non-profit business resource and wire service covering Jewish news and Israel news for Jewish media throughout the English-speaking world.


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 “The Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach”

  1. A lot of us were then.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
President Barack Obama and Iran do not speak the same language..
Any Deal Is a Bad Deal
Latest News Stories
President Barack Obama and Iran do not speak the same language..

Iran, like the Palestinian Authority, has one mindset. A deal is not peace. It is an evil piece of paper.

Spilled Milk

PA President Mahmoud Abbas is making sure PA children will go without milk and the parents forced to ration what little milk they have.

U.S. President Barack Obama at White House Press Briefing.

US President Barack Obama contends Israel is “safer today than ever before,” says give Iran talks a chance.

ISIS/Daesh seized control of the Syrian border town of Quneitra temporarily towards the end of August 2014.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is threatening to kill the founder of Twitter and his employees because they are blocking tweets from Daesh, known also as ISIS.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power tells AIPAC on Monday that America “will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Period.”

“Today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. Tomorrow, as prime minister of the only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.”

Former Consul Alon Pinkas charges Prime Minister Netanyahu is “injecting Israel into the American political arena – he loves doing that.”

Former Israel Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold says PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress “will have substance no one has heard before.”

Want to know who are the Bibicotters and how you can tell them what you think?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a packed room at AIPAC on Monday the US-Israel alliance is “sound.” But on Iran: “No one makes alliances with the weak,” he warned.

IDF soldiers, reservists and local security units participated in a massive training drill in the town of Efrat, Gush Etzion, reenacting an infiltration of terrorists into the settlement, on March 02, 2015. The IDF’s central command called a surprise training exercise in the West Bank to test reservists’ alertness and to prepare for the possibility […]

I’m not going to get into timetables. It will happen.

American like Netanyahu by a 2-1 margin, with Obama probably in the minority.

Girls, ages 10-13, from Efrat in Gush Etzion will square off against girls from the Galilee Arab village Sakhnin tonight in a playoff game that will determine which group will advance to the semi-finals in the girls’ league. “We are involved with soccer and not politics,” one of the Efrat girls said. “We really want […]

Jew Wars: Episode 7 – Revenge of the White House

More Articles from JNS News Service
Thirty-six young girls who have lost a parent celebrated their Bat Mitzvah at a Colel Chabad event.

The Jewish welfare organization Colel Chabad this week hosted a Bat Mitzvah celebration  in Jerusalem for 36 girls who have lost a parent. Most of the parents died from illness or terror attacks, and one Bat Mitzvah girl’s father was the first Israel Defense Forces casualty during last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas. “Family […]

The Israel-based Dan David Foundation has awarded this year’s Dan David Prize for scientific, technological, and cultural accomplishments to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, among other prominent honorees. The three annual $1 million prizes are administered by Tel Aviv University and named for late philanthropist Dan David. In the past, it has been awarded to former […]

It’s a safe bet to say that the overwhelming number of American football fans in Israel cheered on the Patriots.

Earlier this week, ten Israeli tourists were violently assaulted in an anti-Semitic attack at a hostel in Argentina.

The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an umbrella group representing 57 Muslim countries based in Saudi Arabia, plans to visit the Temple Mount Monday. Iyad bin Amin Madani is scheduled to make the visit as part of a trip that also includes a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, OnIslam.net […]

Egypt gives the Jews a reminder not to go back there.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-real-and-radical-legacy-of-rabbi-shlomo-carlebach/2014/09/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: