Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Story About Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

© (2006) Name withheld upon request
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The next time you think about going to a "Carlebach Minyon", or anything named after him, please remember this story. Please forward it to every rabbi you know.

Let's stop making this man into a tzaddik (saint)!

My ex was a Reb Shlomo Carlebach groupie. She had come from Boston to New York in order to study Judaism, and especially to be near Carlebach. I met her at a class, we dated and were married on May, 1976. Carlebach co-officiated at the wedding with my rabbi. Having myself worked in "kiruv" I had a very high opinion of the man, and chalked up his hugging and kissing of women to his self sacrificing for the sake of others.

About a week and a half after our wedding, my wife told me that Shlomo Carlebach was running a retreat before his departure for Israel for the summer. She told me that she "must be there" and I accompanied her. I was surprised to see violations of Halachah not connected to kiruv. When I mentioned this to my wife, I was shocked to hear her say "I know all about Shlomo's sins, and I pray every day that I may be a Kappara (atonement, a surrogate receiver of punishment) for his sins! Please don't talk about it, because words have power."

I asked her if there was anything romantic between them, at which she replied with longing "We both know I'm not what he needs."

Shlomo Carlebach went off to Israel, and the summer passed happily. September came, Shlomo Carlebach returned, and she began disappearing one night a week to attend his lecture-concerts which he held at the B'nai Jeshurun synagogue in Manhattan (at the time, I was serving as rabbi in "location removed").

In October, we learned that my wife was expecting. She told Carlebach of my disapproval of his actions. He told her "Get out fast." My wife left me a few days later. This was 5 days after finding out that she was carrying our child.

I sought out Shlomo Carlebach and confronted him about telling a married woman, and expectant mother, to "get out fast." His wife, Ne'ila, began to berate me indignantly, saying "How dare you? My husband is such a tzaddik, when he dies the angels will carry him to heaven!

Carlebach then smiled, and said to me "who are you? You're a rabbi in a Conservative Synagogue!"

When my wife asked me for money, I asked her why she didn't go to Carlebach for it. She said "He's never there when you need him."

She often said "I'm 95% Shlomo, and when he looks into my eyes I'm 100% Shlomo." This quote had the judge and court stenographer in stitches at the divorce proceedings, but to me it was no joke: it spelled out cult.

After the divorce she moved in with another Carlebach groupie who was married with 4 children. He soon divorced his wife and married my ex.

These events were well known in New York frum circles, I began to get numerous calls of support from sympathetic strangers. Among them, were many calls from people, both men and women, who had had similar experiences.

A noteworthy point, among his groupies "holy" was synonymous with "feels good." Unlike many others, my story has a happy ending. I remarried about a year later. My second wife and I are very happy, and have been blessed with seven wonderful children.

My daughter from my first marriage grew up being told that her mother had to run away, since I "Hate kids, and wanted her to have an abortion." Two and a half years ago she found my website, contacted me to find out the truth (her step father was also taken in by the abortion story).

We are now, thank G-d, very close. As a child, her mother took her to see Shlomo Carlebach, where she was very turned off by the things she saw. It pains me greatly that I was denied by this ego maniac the basic right to live my life with my chosen wife and my firstborn child. My children all grew up in the shadow of these events. Carlebach songs were never allowed in our home.

Whenever I go to a wedding or other Simcha where his songs are played, I am saddened. I am sad for my daughter who grew up without her father, I am sad for my ex who was so used and abused by this man's mile high ego, I am sad for all the unhappiness he left in his wake for so many people. I am sad that this evil man is now considered a tzaddik by so many.

P.S. Some of the people who called me at the time told me that there were actually warrants out for Shlomo Carlebach's arrest in several states for alienation of affection (not a crime in New York, but a felony in many states). I never checked this out, but you may want to.

Click here for more: Shlomo Carlebach stories


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following comment was posted on the Canonist Blog as part of a conversation about Mordecai Tendler.

I love the music but.. Says:
March 15th, 2006 at 12:55 pm

I’m glad someone else sees this. There are many parrallels between Shlomo C and Tendler. I think that Tendler is following his MO. Things to think about:
Many Carlebachniks davened at KNH, including C Lansbom (soul farm). The larger than live painting of Rav Moshe which hangs in the women’s section looks like a cross between Shlomo and Rav Moshe Zt”l. There is a family connection between Tendler and Carlebach through the Jaffen side. Carlebach davend Hallel at Tendler’s son bris, one of his last public appearances. Tendler started kissing any man he meet, and every man in the shul after Carlebach’s passing.

Tendler was the scholar in residence at the Carlebach shul many times. Tendler was warned by a prominent Rabbi in Monsey to steer clear of the Carlebachniks, telling him that they would be downfall. How prophetic that turned out to be.

March 15, 2006 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



“Rebbitzen Neila is the most extraordinary teacher. Hashem has blessed her with an unusual ability to convey complex and deep hashkafah (concepts) and kabbalah in a way that makes them understandable and relevant to the general public.”

Rabbi Mordecai Tendler,
Kehilath New Hempstead, NY

March 15, 2006 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who don't know Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, you can read about him here

March 15, 2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She often said "I'm 95% Shlomo, and when he looks into my eyes I'm 100% Shlomo." This quote had the judge and court stenographer in stitches at the divorce proceedings, but to me it was no joke: it spelled out cult.

Yes, it does spell out cult.

And it's uncannily similar to what women who've gone through being abused by J Hershy Worch have experienced. (Worch was ordained by Carlebach.)

Worch (did he learn this from Carlebach?) put "himself" into women via his voice, his singing, meditative states, or staring.

Thank this man so much for coming forward.

Someday I'll be brave enough to tell about the methodologies Worch used on me.

March 15, 2006 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Jewishwhistleblower - from another blog said...

# jewishwhistleblower Says:
March 15th, 2006 at 2:29 pm

I’m just saying the Carlebach family is very close with rasha Tendler I.

At one point, Neshama was representing that she had a psak from rasha Tendler I to sing in public. Of course, that was later spun by rasha Tendler I when it was publicized in the press. I believe there was a letter by rasha Tendler I in the Jerusalem Post at the time denying the psak. Then of course the psak was rerepresented as something to the effect, at concerts men had to be singing as well, so that they could announce before Neshama sang so that the men could leave but could come back to hear the men singing.

Rasha Tendler I also assisted when Neshama and Nedara took action against Mendel Werdyger and others in regard to protecting child molester Carlebach’s intellectual property and get back copies of recordings of child molester and daughter singing together (previously they had been distributed with Neshama’s tracks removed).

As to the hashkafa of these people, and the hashkafa and kabbalah they spout and demonstrate in their every day lives, I’ll leave it to you and others to analyze.

March 15, 2006 6:49 PM  
Anonymous JewishWhistleBlower - From another blog said...

# jewishwhistleblower Says:
March 15th, 2006 at 2:32 pm

>“Rebbitzen” Neila is not Rebbitzen because …

Child molester Carlebach wasn’t a Rabbi.

Rav Aron Kotler retracted child molester Carlebach’s smicha publicly in Lakewood.

March 15, 2006 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Jewishwhistleblower - from another blog said...

jewishwhistleblower Says:
March 15th, 2006 at 3:21 pm

>I am not aware of Rav Aron’s retraction
>of R Shlomo’s semicah-would you mind
>providing some documentation?

It has been confirmed to me. I suggest you contact his students or those that have control of his archives.

March 15, 2006 6:52 PM  
Anonymous chaimyankel said...

See Igros Moshe, Even Hazer, Vol I, Siman 96. The person in question in this 1959 Tshuvah is Shlomo Carlebach. Ask yourself if Reb Aharon would rule contrary to Reb Moshe. In the mid seventies I watched him kissing boys and girls at an NCSY event. Perfectly acceptable MO behavior. When someone deviates from the path of Torah, there is no telling how far it could go.

March 15, 2006 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be it as it may.. outside of a tiny minority jews across party lines think of his music as inspiring.
When we listen to the radio, and hear songs from any of the top 40 artists are we overcome with resentment as almost all of them have had spats with the law .. drug abuse, hurt someones feelings.. and worse? or do we simply disregard the shell and concentrate on the music?
I think its irresponsible to throw the baby out with the bath water... and rather concentrate on how many people have been postivily influenced by his music and continue in his MUSICAL tradition.
Now if he were to give a speech on Tahras Mishpacha..Id would probably sit that one out..

March 16, 2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but think of the generations to come of the survivors of Shlomo Carlebach.

How many of them will not know they were Jewish?

How many of his survivors converted to other religions?

How many of those abused by Carlebach comitted suicide?

I also wonder how many people would stop listening to his music if they knew of his history. Everyone I've told do a little homework, and say they will listen to something else.

It's sort of like the music of Peter, Paul and Mary. Peter Yarrow is a convicted sex offender. He got a presidential pardon because his father-in-law was a senator.

I grew up on Peter, Paul and Mary. Ever since I learned of the story I have a hard time listening to their music.

March 16, 2006 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is crazy how auch aterribal thing can happen like that. I am sure this is not the first time it has happend!!! So we must not listen to his tapes!

August 01, 2006 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have to look at evryone with a good eye. And if we do that god will look at us and judge us with a good eye. But in this case it is verry hard to judge him with a good eye. You never know why he did such a terribal thing. mabey he had a tough child hood or somthing tough on his life. of course that is no exuse to comite a terribal sin but says in "Tehlim" King David psalms you can not judge somone if you are not in there shoes!!!

August 01, 2006 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is May 2008 not long before Shabbat and Today I read and heard for the first time about these terrible actions committed by S. Carlebach. I feel so ill and sad and it depresses me. When anyone we trust violates that trust especially someone 'admired', it is terrible.

I am so sorry for all of you that were hurt by this man. I will never be able to chant or listen to his music the same way.

To all victims of abuse. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, IT IS HIS and he commited a crime. I am so sorry.


May 09, 2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have so much to say, and forsure not enough space or time to speak my mind,
one messsage i would to say is that anybody on this blog who feels they are great enough to belittle another jew, or simply state their negative views of another jew based on something you heard or experienced a certain way, i hope your trip to hell is nice because it is all down hill from there,
Rabbi Akiva said that there was noone in his time, who was worthy enough to be judge of someone elses character,so please tell me how you feel comfortble enough bashing someone who has clearly brought hundreds of people to a better path of life,and closer to hashem.
there have been controversial people throughout jewish history,people who were far greater than anyone in this generation,we are in no place at all to judge what he did.
And if you think im nuts because you persanaly had an experience with reb shlomo and your judging based on real fact and not just assumption, than know that it in no way benefits the world to share your negative thoughts about another jew,
there are so few places in the torah when it is ok publicly put down Another person, let alone a jew.
I dont know the people who have posted their views here but i hope you have enough merits to make up for bashing another jew to bring yourself up,because as someone on this blog stated so clearly .....words are powerful,im just human so i dont know how powerful they are but i can assure you that you have no idea what harm your words have done,
Why do you think your harmful words are any more kosher than his harmful deeds?
really ? do u know your soul that well that you can speak so harshly?
please someone answer me, when we all pass away and go to the same place, how will you answer hashem when he asks why you spoke harshly about a tzaddik?
do u really have enough good deeds?
if you say yes honestly, ide like to meet you and get a bracha,and appologize for what ive said, but anyone who knows there soul that well probably doesnt belong on this earth.

My point is simple,i dont know you, you dont know me, none of knew shlomos neshama,if we would stop focusing on other peoples "bad" and instead imroved our actions we would all be better off

October 07, 2010 1:04 PM  

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