A review of “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission and Legacy” by Rabbi Natan Ofir
By Izabella Tabarovsky for The Times of Israel
When asked about Rabbi Carlebach’s music, Timothy Leary, that dedicated explorer of mystical experiences and expanded states of consciousness, is reported to have said: “If I had ever had a chance to listen to Shlomo’s music before I ever took drugs, I would have never needed to take them in the first place, that’s how powerful his music was!”
This testimonial is one of many filling the pages Natan Ofir’s meticulously researched and documented book, “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission and Legacy.” For the devoted followers of Carlebach, the book is a wonderful opportunity to re-encounter the man they knew and loved in a rich new context. For those who are just discovering his music, the book offers a wonderful starting point for a journey that can lead as far as the reader wishes to go. Continue reading ““Reb Shlomo, Why Are you So Happy?””
By Ilka Gordon, AJL Reviews
Dr. Natan Ophir has written an extensive and scholarly biography of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994). Ophir grew up on the west side of Manhattan not far from Rabbi Carlebach’s synagogue and therefore had a personal relationship with Reb Shlomo. Rabbi Carlebach fled Europe with his parents and twin brother in 1939. In America Carlebach studied in the Lakewood Yeshiva and later the family moved to Manhattan where he became a follower of Chabad. Under the direction of the sixth Lubavitch Rebbe, Carlebach was sent to college campuses to reach out to unaffiliated Jewish youth. He began composing and performing his original, and intensely moving compositions. His charismatic singing and playing mesmerized audiences. Rabbi Carlebach was the innovator and still most influential composer of Jewish music today. His songs are still sung all over the world and Carlebach synagogue services are very popular. In Dr. Ophir’s book we discover Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s life through the eyes of people whose lives were changed by his love of all humanity and his outreach to all people. Included in the book are copious footnotes, a timeline of his all too short life, an extensive bibliography, sites and Youtube videos where his music can be accessed, a discography in Hebrew and English and an index of all Carlebach songs. Recommended for the music and biography collection of all libraries.