Video: 17th Annual Tribute for Rabbi Carlebach

Thousands of people gathered on Saturday night for the 17th annual tribute concert in memory of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

R.S, Y.K, Benari,

Carlebach Memorial Concert
Carlebach Memorial Concert
Yoni Kempinski

Thousands of people on Saturday night filled the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyanei HaUmah) for the 17th annual tribute concert in memory of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

It is a fact that the iconoclastic American rabbi, a creative musical genius, changed not only the face of Jewish music and synagogue services, but also returned to the fold many souls who had been lost to Judaism with his magnetic melodies and warm personality - and that his music continues to reach out to more and more people years after his death.

The evening, emceed by Radio Kol Chai's Yedidiah Meir and introduced by former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau who spoke of his personal experiences with Carlebach,  featured performances by popular Carlebach performers BenZion Solomon and Sons [theirs a country foot-tapping rendition], Chaim Dovid Saracik, Yehudah Katz, Shlomo Katz, and Israeli icons Aharon Razel and Chizki Sofer.

An unusual and inspiring interpretation was rendered by veteran Israeli Sephardi music performer Shlomo Bar, a friend of Shlomo, who accompanied himself soulfully on the darbouka, adding a song by medieval Spanish poet Ibn Gvirol for good measure.

Each song brought more of the audience to its feet to dance joyfully around the auditorium. Young, old, black and knitted kippah wearers, t-shirted and black suited, it was a spontaneous response to the soul-moving melodies of Reb Shloimele, as he is called by devoted followers, many of whom accompanied him to his final resting place 17 years ago whle singing his songs.

“The most incredible thing about this year’s yahrzeit (anniversary of death –ed.) concert is that it’s actually happening on the yahrzeit,” Shlomo Katz told Arutz Sheva. “That’s taking it to a complete new level.”

Chaim Dovid Saracik noted that “If you count 17 years you’re talking about the gematria of the word tov (“good” in Hebrew –ed.). “Shlomo had a number of songs with the word tov in it, but the most important part is that he lived tov. Everybody was important to him. He was the doer of tov. He was the lover of tov.”

BenZion Solomon, who was a next door neighbor of Rabbi Carlebach spoke about how much he misses his good friend.

“I miss Shlomo every day,” he said. “He was my next door neighbor for 20 years and I’m very much involved in his music, also every day, so I feel like in a way he’s with us.”

“What we miss is the personality,” he added. “We have the music and there are new niggunim coming out all the time. He’s the only rebbe whose niggunim are coming after his passing. Wherever he went there was a tape recorder going and people hoarded the tapes and all of a sudden are coming out of the woodwork.”

Ed. note: The editor remembers purchasing the first Carlebach record as a teenager as soon as it hit the stores, only to hear her Hassidic father, z"l, say that he is apalled to hear verses from the Torah sung by a guitarist - as opposed to my traditionally performed Chabad choir and Ben Zion Shenker records that were also fairly new at the time. It took only a few days for me to hear him humming "Lulei Torascha" [if not for Your Torah, ed.] one of Reb Shlomo's first tunes, as he swayed over his Talmud.

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