Soul Doctor is a musical It based on the life of the colourful dancing Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
This Article will highlight certain landmarks / influences that will give background generation of Soul Doctors that were inspired by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. The Article will look at growing influence Interest amongst Chareidim in both Shlomo’s music and teachings , the Annual Events around his Yartzeit. We will then highlight a new book – “You never Know” with over 25 Contributors who in own way try to expand what they consider were Shlomo’s greatest teachings. What is unique about Shlomo is that he inspired, and his legacy continues to inspires and empowers to fix a wrong that each particular person feels . We bring a few examples of these Soul Doctors inspired by Shlomo. (and we not even going to write about the 100’s of musicians inspired by Shlomo and following in his path). We will trace his path from Lakewood & Chabad to the founding of the House of Love and Prayer , his role in the liberation of the Russian Jewry , introduce to you to the Carlebach Moshav and some of the Chevra in Jerusalem.
So were do we start
I thought I would share a few ‘trends happening in the “Shlomo” world today. Today – there is very much a growing grass roots explosion in the interest in Reb Shlomo’s Teachings and music.
While I do not want to put this into Labels – the fastest growing sector is that the Chareidi Sector. There are for example minyanim on Bnei Brak and Betar on Shabbat , Musical Hallel’s and more.
There are what app’s Groups – the 2 main ones being in Hebrew
Carlebach Neto – which has about 50-100 whatsup a day (best to mute this and read this at your leisure) dealing with the Shlomo’s Archive collected , sorted by trusted followers of Reb Shlomo where discussions are raised about specific events such as Berkley Music Festival, Reb Shlomo’s Relationship with Rabbi Aaharon Kottler, niggumim , interesting photos and more
Iruye Carlebach (need to put into Hebrew) – deals with Concerts, Kumzists, Minyanim and other gatherings
There is an English Group called NIshmat Reb Shlomo which is not as active but is combination of the two.
I am bloggist on Time Of Israel, where I write periodically some of Reb Shlomo Teachings and Events.
Below is a blog that I wrote
Many People say – I am only ‘Jewish’ because of Reb Shlomo. I believe that Reb Shlomo opened the gates for us to uplifting meaningful Jewish Prayer and hence the widespread use of his music when Shuls want to host an inspiring service or the use of guitars in Kumzists around the world.
Shlomo's Yartzeit is celebrated by host of events the main one’s being Annual Yartzeit Concert – at Binyamei Hauma – Motzei Shabbat last year with the Theme of the Unity of Jerusalem (nearly sold out) and the Musical Tehillim at his Grave Site –
By way of Nostalgia, I thought I would include an article that appeared 2005 in under the heading Remembering Reb Shlomo´ and Healing the Nation. This still happens every year.
Thousands of people packed Jerusalem’s National Convention Center Saturday night to remember Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, giving over his melodies together with his Torah lessons.
The yearly concert has always been a gathering point for the students of the late rabbi, who come from all walks of life and know their beloved teacher as simply “Shlomo.” The first such concert was held for Reb Shlomo’s shloshim - the memorial thirty days after his passing – at Jerusalem’s Heichal Shlomo hall. From then on, it was held on Shlomo’s birthday for a few years. Emphasis began to shift to the yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) as spontaneous musical prayer-filled pilgrimages to the rabbi’s Har HaMenuchot grave became a yearly occurrence and the concert took place first at the Yeshurun Synagogue – and then outgrew the venue in favor of Binyanei HaUmah - the largest hall in Jerusalem.
Memorial events are also held in New York, where Reb Shlomo’s synagogue – which he inherited from his father, Rabbi Naftali Carlebach - is located, but the Jerusalem concert is where the part of the rabbi’s legacy that led him to move to Israel and found Moshav Meor Modi’in is most apparent. The concert showcases the living nature of the rabbi’s teachings, which continue to move forward, develop, and affect the Jewish people and bring them home to Israel – “to the Land of their soul,” as one English mainstay melody played at the annual concert terms it.
“So many people are living in Israel because of Shlomo,” said Yehuda Katz, the musical director of the concert and redemption rock-band Reva L’Sheva front-man. “I know that I am one of them.”
Katz said that he recently heard “an awesome Torah (teaching)” from a student of the Vilna Gaon. “When one returns to the Land of Israel they must sing. Song is what is going to bring achdut (unity) to the Land of Israel.”
A video clip of Shlomo performing for an audience soon after the Six Day War on Israeli television was shown between performers at the concert. The tone and instructive nature of the video set the stage for an emotional evening – one many audience members described as being a very healing experience following the trauma of the summer’s Gaza and northern Shomron expulsion. “Believing in the coming of the Messiah is a belief of every Jew, the Rambam says,” Shlomo said, “but what does that really mean? I’ll tell you. According to our holy rabbis, it means that one must believe with complete faith that the nation of Israel has the ability to bring the messiah and the redemption.”
This year’s concert, in particular, embodied the sort of radical unity that Shlomo’s melodies continue to bring about.
Hundreds of young people, many still wearing orange ribbons tied to their wrists and bags - battle-worn from opposing the eviction of Jews from parts of the Land of Israel, sang their hearts out for shalom - peace – a concept and word that the Israeli political lexicon has assigned to a left-wing political viewpoint, but which remains a desire across political lines.
Hareidi-religious performers and audience members, some of whom were openly hostile to Reb Shlomo during his lifetime for his stance on women’s issues and outreach, paid homage to the late rabbi in a way that left some former students of Shlomo’s with mixed feelings, while others saw it as a continuation of the humble rabbi’s way.
Rabbi Yoel Rackovsky of the Old City’s Netiv Aryeh yeshiva recalls walking to a wedding on Mt. Zion with Reb Shlomo and witnessing a teacher of his approach Shlomo and scream at him, saying that he was despicable and that everything he did was wrong. “Reb Shlomo just stood there patiently listening, and when the rabbi stormed off, he went back to talking with us like nothing happened.” Rackovsky added that he later approached Reb Shlomo, asking him what he was thinking about while he was being verbally accosted. “He told me, ‘I was just thanking the Holy One Blessed be He that I was not in his shoes - that I was not that angry at another Jew.’” Rackovsky relates.
Another hallmark of the concert is the performance of rare songs from among Shlomo Carlebach’s thousands of compositions – launching them once again into the public consciousness. From there, such melodies – some that exist on only one audio tape or that were sung only once on someone’s wedding video - enter the roster of tunes used to sing the Psalms at the Friday evening Shlomo-minyans, attended by young and old alike in nearly every town in Israel.
One such song at this year’s concert was Utzu Eitza V’Tufar (“They will plot and nothing will come of it…because G-d is with us”). “It is a song some people know, but which I think has been lost and it was an honor to bring it out,” said Katz, whose band, Reva L’Sheva performed the song and recorded it on their recent album. “I know it was a theme song for a lot of people during the Disengagement. We just happened to record it before that. I think that if we want everyone to come together it has to be under the banner of G-d.”
Another song, a tune, called “Niggun Neshama,” (Soul Melody) was already being sung by the audience when its performer took the stage. The tune was rediscovered by Carlebach's daughter Neshama, who found the song while listening to an old audio tape from a class Shlomo gave in 1985. Shlomo Katz, who has performed the song across Israel, sometimes for a half-hour strait or more, is a student of Reb Shlomo who never knew him during his lifetime.
After playing several other tunes, before launching into “the niggun,” Katz said: “Physically the higher you fly, the further you are from every person – but spiritually, the higher you fly, the closer you are to every person. It’s such a gift from G-d that such a soul was given to us after the Holocaust - to open our hearts again and to wipe away all our anger and tears.” He then offered a prayer that the tune act as a prayer for G-d to once again send such goodness and inspiration to the world, “because we can’t continue like this.”
He then launched into the melody, which is unique in that the energetic high-part is perfectly in harmony with the introductory low-part – allowing for harmony among those singing different tunes. It will be available on Katz’s upcoming album, to be released on Chanukah.
Other performers included Ahron and Yonatan Rahzel, the Witt Family, Chaim Dovid Saracek, Naftali Abramson and Josh Laufer – who, together with his students from the Neve Michael youth village, performed a hip-hop version of a Shlomo classic.
Organizers of the annual event are calling upon the Jerusalem Municipality, which sponsors many cultural events throughout the year, to pitch in to recognize the connection between Reb Shlomo and the holy city.
“Shlomo was the great suspension bridge between various communities within our country and indeed the world,” said Shlomo Carlebach Foundation founder Joe Schonwald. “Shlomo criss-crossed the globe bringing the message of Jerusalem to everybody. He did more for Jerusalem and Aliyah than a lot of other organizations that have that in their mission statement and receive funding from the State of Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality. The city has three cultural departments: religious, secular and hareidi. It is a shame that the three never meet and it is high time to recognize Shlomo’s legacy of contribution to Jerusalem’s culture through unity and diversity.”
Schonwald attributes the emotionally-charged nature of this year’s concert to the political events of the past year. “We are so hungry for a spiritually-charged event beyond all politics and beyond slogans - something that transcends the usual denominational lines,” he said. “This was it - people from various walks of life where all there and it could be felt.”
Schonwald also added that each year more and more of Shlomo’s contributions to Jewish life are recognized. “We are talking about someone who probably hugged more people than King David. I have seen Carlebach concerts by Sephardi performers, secular performers, hareidi-religious performers - at the reception for the Pope when he visited New York they played Shlomo’s Lema’an Achai V’Reyai (“Because of my Brothers and Friends”).
“We owe the renewal of Jewish prayer and worship to the liturgy that Shlomo wrote. He was the singing rabbi, but he was also the father of Jewish music. Before that we had songs that came out of our European or geographic experiences, but that wasn’t Jewish music per se. Shlomo invented Jewish music for our generation.”
Let’s fast forward to 2017
Rabbi Joe Schonwald will present the new book he's put together about Reb Shlomo Carleback, a”h, the great “Singing Rabbi” of our times. The book presents some 25 different essays, each one revealing a different perspective on Reb Shlomo’s “Torah" -- the substance of his teaching, its political/historical and personal/mystical dimensions, his musical contributions, even some poems that he inspired. It presents Shlomo in dialogue with Rabbi Mickey Rosen a”h, and with Prof. Moshe Idel, and offers a liberal sampling of Shlomo’s teachings and stories... carrying a message of universal love from the traditional Jewish world to "the whole wide world". It’s an ideal book for people new to Shlomo Carelebach and his music, who may be wondering, “What’s all this about?” as well as for old-time members of the Shlomo ‘chevra’ who may still be wondering, “What’s all this about.
What do we know? And what do I know? These are the rhetorical questions frequently posed by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994) to express his awareness of the mystery at the heart of creation. They were at the same time an expression of his abiding faith in God's goodness and the divine Providence that underlies all life. Many aspects of the famed Torah scholar, teacher, singer, composer, musician, and storyteller are discussed, analyzed, reflected upon, and praised by over 32 contributors to this compendium of essays, teachings, stories, and poems. It includes extensive selections from transcripts of Reb Shlomo's appearances in venues around the world, complemented by a generous sampling of photographs by Joan Roth and several others. Rabbi Joe Schonwald, working closely with poet and editor Reuven Goldfarb, has drawn upon the resources of Reb Shlomo's many students and friends to assemble this tribute volume, in order to clarify and amplify Shlomo's profound contribution to Jewish spiritual awareness and growth.
So where did at begin?
Shlomo Carlebach was descended from old rabbinical dynasties in pre-Holocaust Germany. The Carlebach family is a notable Jewish family originally from Germany that now lives all over the world. He was born in 1925 in Berlin, where his father, Rabbi Hartwig Naftali Carlebach (1889–1967), was an Orthodox rabbi. He had a twin brother, Rabbi Eli Chaim Carlebach. His family left Germany in 1931 and lived in Baden bei Wien, Austria and by 1933 in Switzerland. Carlebach emigrated to Lithuania in 1938 where he studied at a yeshiva. In 1938 his father became the rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jacob, a small synagogue on West 79th Street in New York City's Upper West Side
His aptitude for Torah study was recognized by great Torah scholars and teachers, among them Rabbi Shlomo Heiman, and the Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash Gevoha, Rabbi Aharon Kotler.
He was considered one of the top students of Rabbi Kotler. Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner, who gave Reb Shlomo Semikha, considered it a loss to the Torah world that he chose a career in musical Jewish outreach over one as a scholar and teacher.
During his yeshiva studies he was often asked to lead the services as a chazzan. Reb Shlomo became a disciple of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
From 1951-1954, he worked as one of the first emissaries (shluchim) of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe who urged him to use his special skills and go to college campuses to reconnect Jews to Judaism
This was the start of his lifelong mission of bringing back thousands of Jews to a deeper sense of connection to the Heritage.
He used his strong base of Torah and merged with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov – Ahavat Yisrael. He synthesis the different Torah streams of Lithuanian Torah, Chassidic passion, Rav Nachman’s Emuna and Rav Kook love and belief in the people of Israel into one beautiful tapestry and song.
For those who have dug deeper – may have discovered his Art of the Story Telling, His Torah, His deep love of every Jew no matter how far one has strayed...
A will show a few examples and stories of the impact that he has in these current day Soul Doctors.
This one is related by Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein (Even Shays) who is a passionate student of the teachings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (1865- 1935) and is doing pioneering work in bringing Rav Kook to the public through classes, lectures and creative musical and dramatic presentations. He is the gabbai at Beit HaRav Kook. There is also Carlebach Shabbat at Beit Harav Kook led by Nachman Solomon. In fact every , there is Carlebach Davening led by Nachman Solomon a second Generation Talmid of Reb Shlomo. About 2 years ago, a Shabbat Minyan was started in the historic Beit Harav Kook House , off Beit Harav Kook Street which is off Yafe Street in the centre of Town , which is a 20 minutes walk from Rechavia. Not only is the davening beautiful, but there is a sit down Kiddush following Shabbat morning prayers which start at 9am. The Minyan is developing into Kehilla where the teachings of Rav Kook are taught and the members of the Kehilla play a part in bringing this historic Shul back to vibrancy. Visitors not only get a great Davening , but can see the House and its Exhibits.
This is his story. "Who's Shlomo?" I asked... It was the early winter of 1974. I was learning Torah at Shma Israel, the cauldron whose Rabbis birthed Or Sameach and Aish HaTorah. Every Erev Shabbat, it was our great joy to walk unafraid from Geula, through Damascus Gate to the Kotel to daven. We had just finished Maariv and the French guy beside me "Let's not go back to the yeshiva right away, Shlomo is coming." "Who's Shlomo?" I asked. "You'll see, just wait here with me." "OK" At least two hours later, the Kotel area was pretty empty as everybody rushed home to eat their Shabbos meal. This French guy and I were still sitting waiting for Shlomo. And then, in the distance, from the direction of the shuk, I heard singing. I couldn't see anything but I knew that a group of people were approaching the Kotel, singing. They came downstairs into the plaza area and made a circle. In the middle of that circle was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Looking pretty cool, he opened a small gemorrah and starting teaching. I was touched and intrigued by his hip American Yiddish English. And then he said "Ok chevre, let's go doven." The group, me in tow, went to the centre of the Kotel beside the mechitza, everybody found their spot and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach began to doven. By Lecha Dodi, it was clear(er) to me who Shlomo was. He became for me, at that moment, Reb Shlomo. And from that moment, he was an important and joyful part of my life. He taught so much of the Torah of the heart.
Micha Odenheimer was born in Berkley, California. He received his B.A. from Yale University, Cum Laude, in 1980. In 1984, Micha received his rabbinic ordination and was a student and close friend of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. In 1988 Micha immigrated to Israel and ever since has been working in social activism in Israeli society, and has lectured and written extensively on Judaism and social justice. A prolific journalist, Micha has reported on poverty, globalization and human rights from around the world, and written for the Washington Post, The Guardian, The London Times, The Jerusalem Report and Haaretz. In 1998, the Joint Distribution Committee granted Micha the "Boris Smolar Prize," based on his work covering Ethiopian Jewry. Micha also founded the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jewry, which was, and remains to this day, one of the most instrumental and valued organizations dealing with the absorption of Ethiopian immigration to Israel. Micha is the founder and director of Tevel B'tzedek, created in 2007. Micha received the 2011 Klegg Prize from Hebrew University.
Micha writes “All I can say is that I had the privilege of spending at least 100 shabbatot with Reb Shlomo, many chagim, ,and hundreds and hundreds of hours hanging with him and the chevre. He was always, always! sweet, generous, humble, and respectful of men, women, Jews, non-Jews everybody. I can't tell you how many disturbed people crowded around him seeking healing. I can't begin to describe the extent of his generosity and his caring Shlomo was certainly a complex human being--although the most extraordinary one I have ever met. .Shlomo contributed so much, brought so much soul and self sacrifice to the Jewish world is can be regarded of one of the greatest Jews of the 20th century”
At the age of 14, Emuna Witt met, and stayed close to, her Rebbe, Shlomo Carlebach. She is the editor of Kol Chevre, the Carlebach journal, teaches at Simchat Shlomo in Nachlaot, Jerusalem, is one of the founders and leaders of the monthly Rosh Chodesh celebrations at the Carlebach moshav (community). Her shabbat tables are renowned for their love, inclusiveness, singing, holiness, great food, connection with any of her 14 children and 35 plus grandchildren. Her devotion to living a life of mitzvot - deeds that bring God close - is inspiring and heartwarming.
As a religious Jewish woman, Emuna is one of the prominent religious peacemakers. Her love and compassion as inspired by Reb Shlomo, are not limited to anyone or anyone group. She is qualified Torah Yoga teacher , and is a rare teacher and jewel. Just to be in her presence is a delight, a bath in chesed - loving kindness.
Emuna leads series of classes on Chassidut and Nonviolent Communication. She brought to us the teachings of the Reb Shlomo, Svat Emet, Rebbe Nachman, the Slonim Rebbe, and others, whose teachings offer an enlightened way of being in, and repairing the world.
Emuna has taken on the responsibility of Kol Chevra . wich is the annual Journal of inspirational stories In Memory of the renowned Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, who brought hundreds of thousands of Jewish youth back to their roots with his original heart warming melodies and soul reaching teachings and close friends who recently left the world. Each year has theme , for example The theme from the22nd edition was Love and Healing; How Reb Shlomo healed the world and how we also can transform the world to a better place. A feature article is By Rabbi Sammy Intrator who takes us back in time to Reb Shlomo's trip to Poland, 27 years ago. Please travel this journey with us!! We take you to Morocco and Nepal and many places all over the planet. Kol Chevra is the Voice of the Friends who are sharing their deepest visions, hopes and dreams.
Kol Cheva is now being digitalized and some articles can be found on http://kolchevra.com/. This project is led by Miriam Drori who together with her Husband set up House of Love of Prayer in Sefad . Miriam is the daughter Eleonora and Avraham Shifrin. The song SHOMRIM was first sung by Reb Shlomo in a wedding that he performed on September 9, 1974. Avraham Shifrin, a former political prisoner of Soviet concentration camps, and together with his wife Elonora founded the Research Center for Soviet Prisons, Psychiatric Prisons and Forced-Labor Concentration Camps. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIAWk9Im_DA)
AM YISRAEL CHAI and the STRUGGLE TO LIBERATE THE JEWS OF THE SOVIET UNION
At this point , I will digress and share an article on Shlomo’s most famous song Am Yisroel Chai, This article was written by the late Jacob Birnbaum Indeed, Birnbaum was the first to recognize that not only did we have a responsibility to direct our protests against the Soviet Union, but we also had the obligation to insist that our own U.S. government do more, much more, to press the Soviets to let our people go. In the early ’60s, Birnbaum asked Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach to compose a Soviet Jewry theme song. The words go back to the biblical narrative, when Joseph, after 22 years of separation from his father, Jacob, asks his brothers “ha’od avi chai?” – “Is my father still alive?”
He writes –“ After initiating the grass-roots movement for Soviet Jewry with the creation of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in April 1964, I strove to generate movement songs (now assembled in "Songs of Hope for Russian Jews," originally "Songs of Protest for Russian Jews").
I was determined to get one from Shlomo Carlebach. We knew each other and our grandfathers had become acquainted in 1897 at the first Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland. His zaide, Rabbiner Arthur Cohn, was Rabbi in Basle and my zaide Dr. Nathan Birnbaum was elected to be the first Zionist Secretary-General.
Shlomo was constantly on the move and hard to pin down. His mother Rebbetzin Paula Carlebach was most helpful in forwarding my requests for a song "Am Yisroel Chai." The request began to resonate with him when he flew to Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia. Later he told me that he had washed my letter, typed on "Student Struggle" stationery, down the airplane toilet in some trepidation.
He first sang the song to a group of Prague youngsters. I did not know about this at the time but had continued to press Rebbetzin Carlebach that he should have something ready for our great Jericho march of Sunday April 4, 1965. Late on Friday afternoon April 2nd, my phone rang and Shlomo's exhausted voice said, "Yankele, I've got it for you!"
Jericho Sunday dawned bright and sunny. We encircled the Soviet UN Mission on East 67th Street in New York, Jericho style, to the trumpeting of seven shofars blown seven times and marched to the UN. Shlomo was inspired and for the first time publicly sang what was to become a contemporary Jewish liberation anthem. Even Irving Spiegel, the usually kvetchy New York Times correspondent, basked in the pervasive joyful spirit of the moment.
Shlomo had added another phrase "Od Ovinu Chai" with which he climaxed the song on a high note of exaltation. He took this from the Biblical Yosef's exclamation about his father Yaakov. I would say that this was the culmination of Shlomo's first musical period, which I would call his "Neshomo" period, marking the revival of popular Jewish religious music after the destruction of the great East European reservoir of popular Jewish music during the Holocaust. I well remember the barrenness of the Jewish music scene in the post World War II years. It was Shlomo who revived the "Ovinu" consciousness in the latter 1950s.
When I brought Shlomo into the Soviet Jewry liberation movement, he entered his second musical phase -- a preoccupation with the physical rescue of the Jewish people and Israel, the "Guf" phase, one might say. After the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967, he went to the Wall and sang the new song of liberation but now in reverse order. Now he began with a high triumphant "Od Ovinu Chai" with "Am Yisroel" in second place.
This also pointed to his third phase, which I'd call his "Mikdosh" phase. He had not been well and in 1994, my wife and I went to daven Slichos with him at his shul. Avoiding his more usual sentimental discursive style, he spoke brilliantly and deeply about contemporary spiritual challenges and then the service got under way.
In his later years, young Hasidim had become enchanted with him. Many such were present and the scene became religiously electric, the davenen becoming ever more intense with his microphone-aided voice soaring ecstatically over it all. I was startled and moved and faces all around me were lit up in fervor. As we left, I said to my wife, "This was a Mikdosh experience and Shlomo's essence."
Shlomo had expanded beyond the striving for the redemption of the individual soul to the physical redemption of Am Yisroel and finally penetrated to the holy core of Jerusalem's Mikdosh.
Shortly thereafter, Shlomo passed on.
In sum, with his early neoclassic melodies, he responded to the yearnings of younger post-Holocaust generations to reach into their Jewish roots, to hold on and rebuild their Jewish identity. He was responding to something even larger than a physical Holocaust, to the pervasive thinning and disintegration of Jewish identity in recent centuries.
That is why he later responded to another of my requests, to compose a song of Jewish resistance and renaissance in the Soviet Union. I asked him for a rendering of the Psalmic "lo omus ki echyeh" -- "I will not die but live" (also to be found in "Songs of Hope for Russian Jews"). This covered my Soviet Jewry slogan "Let My People Go! Let My People Know!" "Lo omus" did not take hold in the same way as "Am Yisroel Chai", but "Let My People Know" was appropriated by a number of outreach groups.
But in his mind and heart one might say that Shlomo's greatest passion was "Let My People Rejoice!" Job cried out that "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward!" Shlomo's preference was surely to overcome and supplant the pessimistic "born to sorrow" with an ecstatic "born to joy!"
House of Love and Prayer
The House of Love and Prayer is a synagogue where the melodies of Rabbi Carlebach fill one’s soul with joy and sweetness. Named after the popular Carlebach center in San Francisco, Tzfat's House of Love and Prayer shares the goal of giving everyone the feeling of home--even if one lives at the other end of the world.
Cultural and Spiritual Center
Established by students of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, this shul offers Carlebach’s renewed approach to one’s relationship with G-d and Judaism and focuses on building an appreciation of life and deepening bonds with our loved ones. The House of Love and Prayer is also a cultural and spiritual center with lectures, workshops, evening concerts and activities for all ages. In the summer, during Tzfat’s famous Klezmer festival, they hold a lively Carlebach festival.
Rabbi Carlebach taught that the greatest thing in this world is to do something good for someone else. As a result, the House of Love and Prayer does acts of charity in the community. The center is actively involved in rehabilitation programs for youth at risk and offers subsidized afternoon homework help for children from troubled families. The center also offers afternoon courses in guitar, violin, science and art for children who can’t pay for regular courses. They also visit ill, elderly and lonely people in Safed.
Heartfelt Prayer and Song
At The House of Love and Prayer, one can experience spiritual elevation like never before. The Kabbalat Shabbat services are filled with heartfelt singing, dancing, clapping and focused prayer to the tunes of Carlebach. Saturday prayers are very meaningful and the seudah shlishit offers touching words and insight based on the stories of Carlebach. Havdalah rocks as guitars, flutes and drums say farewell to a most fulfilling Shabbat. The synagogue makes all special occasions meaningful, creating incredible ruach for bar and bat mitzvas, brit milas and baby naming ceremonies.
To learn know more and find out about upcoming events, check out The House of Love and Prayer. http://holap.intzfat.info/en/
So lets us now look more closely a the original House of Love and Prayer existed at the nexus between Hippies, Jews, New Religious Movements, and the Countercultural Revolution in San Francisco in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though a brief moment in San Francisco Jewish history, it illuminates the unique social, cultural, political, and religious forces that merged together to form a robust and particular Jewish expression in the Bay Area, which has continued into the twenty-first century. The House of Love and Prayer no longer exists in physical form today, however those who experienced it continue to live a Jewish life attributed to and rooted in the spirit of the House all over the world. The memories of the House of Love and Prayer continue to live on.
The House of Love and Prayer successfully redefined methods of religious worship while revitalizing Jewish spiritual connections among detached and disaffiliated Jews at a time of great crisis in Jewish and American life. It was a radical Jewish experience that sought to bring lost souls into a meaningful and spiritual Jewish life. The individuals who lived at and built the House of Love and Prayer attempted to infuse greater Jewish spirituality and tradition into everyday experiences for those Hippies who were searching for meaning, offering a uniquely Jewish alternative to the mostly secular Counterculture.
In the Beginning
In December 1949, one month before he died, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, had a brief encounter with two twenty-something Jews, Shlomo Carlebach and Zalman Schachter that would change the landscape of Jewish communities for decades. The Chabad leader had a revolutionary idea: to send out emissaries—Jewish missionaries—to college campuses across the United States to bring non-Orthodox Jews “back” to Judaism.
Starting on the campus of Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA, it wasn’t long before Carlebach and Schachter, more commonly referred to as Reb Shlomo and Reb Zalman, respectively, made their way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Though they successfully engaged large numbers of young Jews in Jewish life across the United States, in the Bay Area they found a community of individuals seeking a more spiritually rich life. Deeply influenced by the openness of the Beatnik culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the Hippie Counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, Shlomo and Zalman encountered a growing movement of people ready to experiment with alternative paths towards religious and spiritual experiences. The young Jews they encountered in San Francisco believed that the world was broken and in need of fixing, an idea similar to their own Hasidic vision of the universe. The two rabbis began visiting the Bay Area more often. They soon realized that San Francisco was the perfect place for Hasidic Jewish tradition to intersect with Hippies and the Countercultural Revolution.
The Berkeley Folk Festival
In 1966, Carlebach, who also became known as “The Singing Rabbi,” played at the Berkeley Folk Festival, where he invited the young people in attendance to join him for Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, that Friday night. With an estimated 800 people showing up to the celebration, Carlebach realized that he was able to reach young Hippies through his music, teaching, and unreserved and sociable personality. Within a short period of time, he gained a following among the Bay Area Jewish Hippies; a small group began to meet regularly for Shabbat prayers and meals at the home of Elia and Miriam Succot in the small town of Forest Knolls, approximately 25 miles north of San Francisco. Shlomo was not always there; when he was, the group was simply too big for the modest home.
Rooted in the success of these weekly gatherings, Reb Shlomo wanted to open a house in San Francisco where he could engage young Jews in a meaningful Jewish life. He dreamed of creating a place where “when you come, someone loves you; when you leave, someone misses you.” This dream became a reality in April 1968, when Aryae Coopersmith, one of Carlebach’s followers, rented (for $300/month, plus a $50 security deposit) a large two story Georgian architectural house at 347 Arguello Boulevard in San Francisco’s Richmond District. Called the House of Love and Prayer, it quickly blossomed into an important destination for Hippies and spiritual seekers who were intrigued by both the atmosphere of love prevalent in San Francisco’s Countercultural Revolution and Shlomo’s music and attractive Jewish teachings.
A small number of individuals lived in the House, tasked with running the everyday operations. In addition to these individuals, there were dozens of others who lived close by and participated in House activities regularly. Those who had professional jobs dedicated much of their income to ensure that the House could thrive as a Jewish commune.
Shabbat was the main attraction. Hundreds of people would show up each week for the celebrations. Though the House became a free hostel for Hippies, Jews, and anyone looking for a place where they would feel welcome during the week, it was over Shabbat that most stayed on site overnight.
The Second House
Inspired by Carlebach’s vision, by 1970 members of the House of Love and Prayer attempted to open a House of Love and Prayer yeshiva (seminary), to become a serious place of study and worship. Efforts were focused on raising the necessary funds for a new building to host the yeshiva. Aided by the generosity of three major donors, they were able to put a down payment on a house at 1456 9th Avenue, in San Francisco’s Sunset district. Shortly thereafter, in May 1970, they closed down the first House of Love and Prayer (in May 1970), located on Arguello Boulevard (very close to Golden Gate Park) because it no longer adequately served their needs. The new building, which was purchased in April 1971, became the House of Love and Prayer Yeshiva.
The Beginning of the End
By the mid-1970s, things started changing culturally, both in San Francisco generally and at the House of Love and Prayer specifically. The House became more traditionally Orthodox and less rooted in the joyous experiences prevalent at the first House, evidenced most prominently by the introduction of a mechitzah (a barrier used to separate men and women during prayer). By the late 1970s even Reb Shlomo began to feel alienated by the practices of those in the House, causing his visits to become even more sporadic. By this same time, many of the Hippies who were originally attracted to the Haight-Ashbury scene had moved away, a phenomenon echoed at the House.
Reb Shlomo and Reb Zalman, who was also a part-time spiritual leader of the House, officially parted ways in 1974 over ideological differences. Though they remained close friends, Schachter founded a new Jewish movement, which soon became known as Jewish Renewal. Carlebach, on the other hand, remained wholly committed to Orthodox Judaism and continued to try to get young Jews to be traditionally observant.
In 1974, Schachter’s followers started the Aquarian Minyan in Berkeley; many members of the House joined them in growing this new community. Similarly, in 1976 many of Shlomo’s disciples from the House established a village in Israel called Mevo Modiin (though its official name is Me'or Modiin), which is often referred to as the Carlebach Moshav. In fact, as early as 1969 and continuing into the early 1970s many people from the House had moved to Israel altogether, including Elia and Miriam Succot, founding members of the House. But it was the establishment of Moshav Mevo Modiin that attracted the most people to Israel; it became a Hippie Hassidic haven with Reb Shlomo’s imprint found throughout. Still others from the House moved to different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area to start families or pursue careers.
Moshav Mevo Modiin was established in 1976 and has been involved in Jewish education and sustainable, natural living from its inception. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z”l was the spiritual leader of the Moshav and his teachings, music and spirit set the tone for all its educational initiatives. For nearly forty years, Mevo Modiim has been a magnet for tens of thousands of guests on Shabbat and holidays, major music festivals and country fairs. The Moshav is populated by a unique and diverse group of talented artists, musicians, writers, film makers, healers and teachers.
The Moshav will now have a permanent Visitor Centre, which is run by Elnatan Golomb, son of Michael Golomb z’l – whose vision was to have a centre that hosts a variety of musical and environmental programs. The Centre will house a library and artifacts of Reb Shlomo Carlebach and coordinate programs for groups and individuals, as well as programs of the Shlomo Carlebach Foundation.
Reb Shlomo’s music, stories and message of Ahavat Yisrael have inspired so many people across the world and his impact is still growing 21 years after his death. The Centre will run programs which hopes to which will inspire and promote; A connection to the self, one’s Jewish identity and; Exposure to a peaceful and sustainable environment and Spread the message of love and acceptance and the concept of Tikun Olam.
There will be an array of interactive programs such as: an inspiring musical experience based on the music & teachings of Reb Shlomo, , art projects, yoga, aromatherapy, healthy diet and cooking sessions, tours of the Moshav and more,
A visit to the Moshav can be made together with other nearby attractions; tour of the graves of the Maccabees, nature and meditation walks and bike rides in the Ben Shemen Forest, Neot Kedumim Park, Monkey Park and a visit to the moving Zenglembia Holocaust Memorial.
The Visitor Centre will showcase sustainable natural living and there is a plan for the construction of a sukkah and paving constructed in mud strengthened by the advances in nanotechnology derivatives adapted to traditional building systems. The sukkah will house a coffee and gift shop where local residents will be able to sell their wares and books, CD’s will also be available for sale.
It was Reb Shlomo’s dream to have a Centre of Health for the Body and Soul on the Moshav.
See Letter ..
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and his chevreh started Moshav Mevo Modi'im to be a home in Israel for Reb Shlomo's vision and music.
We have a Country Fair every Chol Hamoed, featuring music, Torah, health and live music. At The beginning of every Hebrew calendar month, there is a women’s gathering at Moshav Meor Modi’im. On Monday, May 9, to usher in Iyar, various women will give talks on the power of healing, yoga and the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the founder of the moshav. The event is hosted by Leah Rivkah Sand Soetendorp. Speakers include Ilana Rachel, Meira Ra’anan, Shoshana Harari, Sara Wurtzel, Rabbanit Emunah Halevi Witt and Leah Golomband more. There will be a potluck vegetarian lunch and communal singing of Hallel
Shlomo’s music and Teachings had 2 key Focuses – Shabbat and Jerusalem.
The Carlebach Kabbalat Shabat is an upbeat spiritual Experience and is core(‘hidden’) ingredient in the Shabbat Project which was introduced in South Africa in 2013 to quite astonishing effect. On the Shabbat over which it ran, close to 70 percent of the country’s 75,000 Jews kept Shabbat in full, most for the first time in their lives. Perhaps more significantly, the initiative drew people together in ways never seen before.
In the aftermath, many wrote in from around the world, wanting to bring the initiative to their own cities and communities. And so, the international Shabbat Project was born.
It has already been described as "an experiment that has no precedent in modern Jewish history,” and “the most ambitious Jewish unity initiative ever undertaken,” and last year 340 cities across the world and Israel participated .
The concept is simple: Jews of all walks of life, from across the spectrum – religious, secular and traditional; young and old, from all corners of the world – uniting to experience one full Shabbat together, in full accordance with Jewish law
One of the main common threads about the Shabbat Project (https://www.theshabbosproject.org) was the music. We heard the phrases Carlebach Friday night, special Havdala etc...
Across the rainbow of the Jewish world from reform to chareidi there was one main unifying factor.
This was one inspired by the special soulful melodies of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
It was not only the soulfoul melodies of Reb Shlomo, but also his love for Shabbat. Reb Shlomo used to sing and talk passionately about Shabbat.
Shlomo’s had a special love for Jerusalem and it is therefore no surprise that are so Many Carlebach inspired, style davening all aaround Jerusalem and there is Shlomo Yershiva in Jerusalem.
Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo was founded in 2001, by Rav Sholom Brodt z”l and his wife Rebbitzen Judy, with the vision of giving over Torah and Chassidut in a style and environment inspired by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
Rav Brodt, or Reb Sholom as he liked to be called, was one of the sweetest, most real souls of our generation. He worked in formal and informal Jewish education for over thirty years. A master of Judaic studies teacher and storytelling, Sholom was educated at the Chabad yeshiva in Montreal, as well as other yeshivot in both Toronto and Jerusalem. A long-time student of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach zt”l, Sholom received Rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Carlebach in 1989.
Through his dearest project, Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo, Reb Sholom taught and shared Torah in a way that no other yeshiva ever has. The non-judgemental love and support with which Reb Sholom welcomed his students combined with the deep, joyful and soul-enlightening Torah that he, and others, taught made the experience of learning there truly transformative for so many people who now, together, form a widely spread but firmly interconnected world-wide community.
And for those who could not come to Jerusalem, Reb Sholom made every effort to come to communities far and wide to share sweet Torah and bring people closer to HaShem and to Am Yisrael.
Reb Sholom not only taught Torah but he and his precious Rebbetzin, Judy, opened their home to all and shared the light and warmth and joy of Judaism with anyone who was lucky enough to enter their doors, most especially at the weekly Seuda Shlishit meals on Shabbat.
Words cannot fully express his impact on the world. He was our Rebbe, our holy brother, and our true friend who gave us so much and lifted us up so high. He inspired literally thousands of people over the years. Sadly, on the 10th of Elul 5777 (Sept 1st 2017) he passed away. May Hashem escort his soul to the highest yeshiva shel ma’ala and may HaShem give us all strength to carry on the work Reb Sholom started.
Reb Sholom z”l is survived by his wife Judy, who is a doula, massage therapist, interior designer and gives Kallah classes to brides.
Chasya Lester – another Spul Doctor interviewed R’Sholom & Judy about how they made their spiritual millions. Judy – a petit female Dalai Lama – looked at me and said, “In my mother’s house they would say, ‘Were not poor we just don’t have money’. Why put a ceiling on just a million when you can plug into infinity?” – She gave me her usual loving gaze, squeezed my hand tight and said, ‘Just connecting to another person is beyond infinite…so I’m the wealthiest right now.’
Reb Sholom with his hand-rolled cigarette & twinkling eyes added a stunning string of Hassidic stories from his endless repertoire. And ka-ching, it was as if a deposit was made in my spiritual bank account right then and there. I love having spiritually wealthy neighbors!
She then goes on tell about another Noachloat family -the Steinbergs. Reb Dovid & Maayan. Two more Carlebach die-hard torch-bearers. And no shleppers either. He’s a hornist who played with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, she’s an award-winning international painter. Dovid trumpeted with Reb Shlomo for some 20 years and has a repository of Shlomo stories and teachings to prove it. “
Reb Dovid is behind a new Minyan in Nachloat …
When one talks about Nachloat – one has to menmtion Kol Rina the original Carlebach Minyan led by the Soul Doctor Shimon Goldwasser, My personal highlights are Evening Musical programs of Yom Ha’amatzmaut and Yom Yerusalaim.
In the Old City , there is the Chalonai Rokea Carlebach Miyan of the Old City at 3 Rechov Hamalach has a variety of Programs . This Minyan is usually meets on Chagim and a few Shabbatot when the its Founder Dr. Moshe Moshe Rothkopf is in Jerusalem. Moshe is not only a Soul Doctor but a real Dr, an ophthalmologist practicing in Lakewood. Moshe met Shlomo in 1974, played the piano with Shlomo’s band for 20 years and held ;leadership positions in the Carlebach Shul. There is a story in the New York Times about how they bought the House. A short Extract “ The Rothkopfs want to live on two of the upper floors and establish a "multimodality holistic healing center" on the ground floor, "with cubicles for psychologists, body workers, reflexologists, massage therapists and other medical professionals like my husband, to help you cope, to fight your stress," Mrs. Rothkopf said.”
"We had been looking for two years before we found this one," said Mrs. Rothkopf, a woman of great enthusiasm who speaks with a slight accent from her native South Korea.
And of course, Reb Shlomo helped Moshe Rothkopf in the conversion process of his wife-to-be Zipporah.Reb Shlomo officiated at Moshe Rothkopf’s wedding at West Side Institutional Synagogue April 4, 1982 together with Rabbis Efraim Buchwald and Meir Fund. The newlyweds celebrated their Sheva Berachot at Reb Shlomo’s Pesach seder on April 7, 1982.
In Conclusion, So what was unique about Reb Shlomo Carlebach? Reb Shlomo was a Gate Opener.
Gates – Shlomo opened many gates, and even now his music, Torahs, teachings and stories are still opening many gates. Some obvious examples: bringing in Shabbat with joy, Love of Israel and Jerusalem, love of the Jewish people – the list goes on. Another is the use of guitars in Jewish services and events which are used across the spectrum of Jewish observance to inspire Jews worldwide.
Music – Shlomo’s music is so much part of mainstream Jewish music that is impossible to identify it. In fact, when enquiries we made about collecting royalties, his melodies were identified as National Music, as a National Treasure. From Am Yisrael Chai, to Holocaust Memorials, from Weddings to Kumsitz – communal singing.
Jewish Education & inspiration – Shlomo opened a new spiritual path that combines Judaism with its spiritual and creative side. As a result, we have three generations of teachers leading this. These soul doctors include environmentalists, artists, and musicians combining their talents with Torah & Jewish mysticism. Other examples include Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo in Jerusalem, The House of Love and Prayer in Safed, or the numerous Carlebach Friday night services which are havens for those seeking a closer connection to God through Judaism.
Jewish caring - social awareness - enhancing the rights of woman. There is so much to write about here. -Shlomo opened so many gates here. There is so much so say here, that a new book is in planning written by women showing the contribution by Shlomo
For further Inspiration, weekly Parsha Blog and more about the contributions of Reb Shlomo – see www.shlomofriends.com or www.souldocterstories.com
For further Inspiration, the weekly Parsha Blog and more about the contributions of Reb Shlomo – see www.shlomofriends.com
To coincide with the show "SouI Doctor" , I will be presenting a series of articles / blogs as follows :
Detailed Blog – on the Shlomo impact – history and current Soul Doctors in Israel,
An article on comparison of Reb Shlomo and the Baal Shem Tov
Kabbalat Shabbat Blog to co-coincide with the Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday 15th June at 11am
Shlomo’s Involvement with Russian Jewry and the 2nd generation impact – also contributing will be Miriam Drori who runs the "House of Love and Prayer" in Sefad. She is the daughter of Refuseniks who had a deep connection with Shlomo.
The vision of the "House of Love and Prayer" as a model for the Jewish Future.
Article on the US Chevra which include many Female Rabbis and Leaders. This highlights the diversity of Reb Shlomo’s message.
Additional References/ Materials:
Aaron Razel – Letter to Shlomo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHG2vAmfoS4
Other Sites dedicated to Shlomo are: