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Shlomo Carlebach


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Shlomo Carlebach (שלמה קרליבך) (known as Reb Shlomo to his followers) (January 14, 1925, Berlin—October 20, 1994, Canada) was a Jewish religious teacher, composer, and singer who was known as “The Singing Rabbi” during his lifetime. Although his roots lay in traditional Orthodox yeshivot, he branched out to create his own movement combining Hasidic-style warmth and personal interaction, public concerts, and song-filled synagogue services. At various times he lived in Manhattan, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Moshav Mevo Modi’im, Israel.

Carlebach is considered by many to be the foremost Jewish religious songwriter in the second half of the 20th century. In a career that spanned over 30 years, he recorded more than 25 albums that continue to have wide popularity and appeal. His influence also continues to this day in so-called “Carlebach minyanim” located in many cities around the globe.

Many of the bands today within the genre of Jewish Rock And Soul are greatly influenced by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s melodies and songs.

Carlebach began writing songs at the end of the 1950s, primarily based on verses from Tanakh set to his own music. Although he composed thousands of songs, he couldn’t read musical notes. Many of his soulful renderings of Torah verses became standards in the wider Jewish community, including Am Yisrael Chai (” Nation Israel Lives”—composed on behalf of Soviet Jewry in the mid-1960s), Pischu Li (“Open For Me “) and Barchi Nafshi (“May My Soul Bless God”).

His public singing career began in Greenwich Village, where he met Bob Dylan and other folk singers. He sought out and used the same producers as used by famous folk artists.


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