Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s Yahrtzeit, Sunday, Oct 24th, 2010 – 16th Cheshvan, 5771
Like thousands of people world over, I felt like Shlomo and I were friends. He was many things to all who knew him: he was a poet, a teacher, a transporter of souls: he was a unifier of Jews, a lover of mankind, a heart grabber; he was a mediocre musician, he was a spectacular musician, he was the sweet singer of Israel, he was a friend.
Reb Shlomo saw no difference between any Jew within any spectrum of Judaism and he made you feel like you were the center of his world. His songs, narratives, stories, Davening and presence took you to a different dimension where Heaven and earth touched.
This Saturday night/Sunday, all over the world his life will be celebrated and elevated with song and brotherhood by possibly tens of thousands of Jews and non-Jews because he was their friend. T’Hei Nishmato Baruch – may his should be blessed.
In 1976 I brought Reb Shlomo to Winnipeg Manitoba for a concert. We had agreed that prior to the concert there would be a special “meet and greet” gathering of sponsors and friends. Shlomo insisted on staying at a fancy downtown hotel. I dropped him off after his arrival and told him that I would pick him up at 5:30 and that “these people” were sticklers for time. I arrived at 5:15, let myself into his room, and he was in the shower. I announced myself and Reb Shlomo asked me to order him a pot of coffee. I did so, and just as the bellhop brought the coffee, Reb Shlomo came out of the bathroom, wrapped in one of those huge hotel bath towels, saw the bellhop and gave him a big hug and kiss, he held him by the back of his neck, touched foreheads and said, “give yourself a big tipaleh and come to my concert when you finish work.” The bellhop embarrassed, nervously agreed. When he left, I poured the coffee and Reb Shlomo looked at me and said, we don’t have time for coffee, – these people expect me on time.
During the concert at the Rosh Pina synagogue, I noticed the bellhop dancing in the crowd. He was ecstatic! Reb Shlomo made another friend.