The singing rabbi lives on

A memorial concert pays homage to one of the Jewish music community’s most influential figures, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

By LOREN MINSKY/ ITRAVELJERUSALEM.COM TEAM
November 10, 2011 18:42
2 minute read.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach 311. (photo credit: courtesy: PR)

A top line-up of Jewish musicians, including Israeli pop star, Shlomo Bar, will mark the 17th anniversary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s passing at Binyanei Ha’Uma, the Jerusalem International Convention Center this Saturday evening.

3,000 people are expected to attend the annual event, including Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv/ Jaffa. The crowd will predominantly be made up of English-speakers and olim who were influenced by Carlebach and his music during his lifetime and after his passing.

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Carlebach was sent out into the world with his guitar in the Sixties by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe in order to "save souls." A graduate of Lakewood yeshiva, he ventured where no other Orthodox rabbi would go, such as bars and discotheques. His movement began in 1968 after he founded the House of Love in San Francisco. Carlebach brought thousands of non-affiliated Jews back to their heritage during his lifetime and continues to touch thousands more after his passing. “Carlebach tunes” are now among the most well known in the Jewish world.

As in past years, the concert will combine performances by those who knew Carlebach well with younger talent who are simply inspired by his music and legacy. All of the music is original Shlomo Carlebach arranged by musical director, Eran Klein and presented in varying styles by each of the performers.

Veteran performers include Chaim Dovid Saracik, Yehuda Katz and Ben Zion Solomon, who will perform with his sons of Soulfarm, Moshav Band and Hamakor fame. The younger musicians include Yitzchak Meir and Chizki Sofer as well as Shlomo Katz and Aaron Razel, two of the leaders in a new generation of Carlebach-inspired rock and soul. “My family became religious when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until my own personal search after the army, when I encountered the Carlebach way of music and Chassidut that I really returned to Judaism,” says Aaron.  “Shlomo changed the way I relate to my music and infused it with purpose – Avodat Hashem (serving G-d), spreading a message and connecting to people”.

The MC of the evening will be Yedidya Meir, but this year there will be less talking and more music by the great musicians on stage. In-between performances there will be videos shown of Shlomo Carlebach and for the first time there will be a dedicated spot where people can light a candle in his memory.

It is evident that Carlebach continues to bring Jews together. “The event on Saturday night is not a regular concert where you have to relate to the audience anew,” says Aaron. “The audience is made up of so many people who have come together over the years, all connecting to Carlebach. It is a gathering of chevra, friends. We have become family”.

The concert takes place on November 12th at Binyanei Ha’Uma, Jerusalem.

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