By Neshama Carlebach
From the moment I was old enough to know I was alive, I knew I wanted to perform. I trained as a singer and actor from when I was five years old, and began singing with my father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, of blessed memory, when I was fifteen. Never in my lifetime did I imagine that I was developing the strength, knowledge and skill to follow in his footsteps.
I began my singing career three weeks after I lost my father, my best friend. At first I felt compelled to sing, knowing in my heart he would have wanted me to. The beginning was a time of great sorrow, as I traveled around the world singing for thousands of people, all of us unable to accept the fact that we would never again be in his holy presence.
My sweetest father gave me lessons in life that have empowered me since I was a little girl. He said we need to love every person in the world at least as much as we love ourselves and those closest to us. He said when we see someone is suffering, it’s because we have been blessed with the opportunity to save a life. He said when we reach out to G-d with all our strength, that G-d rejoices in that connection and will absolutely answer our deepest prayers. He said when we open our hearts, we learn we are never alone. These words (all his teachings, really…) run through my head all day long, I know his influence has made me who I am. In this spirit and with great joy that I write this letter to you now, to share the beginning of a new and exciting life change for me.
Please G-d, over the next weeks, I will be solidifying the foundation of my new company,
Created as a response to the darkness of this time of economic crisis and spiritual uncertainty, Soul Journey will provide an avenue for people of all ages and faiths to find the hope, inspiration and empowerment that is needed now more than ever. My goal is to create the pathway for my shows and workshops to not only raise spirits (as we have been doing for all these years) but also raise capital for those in need. When words fail us all, it’s music that allows us to express our innermost longings, work through our fears and feel joy even in times of darkness. This is more important now than it’s ever been. In this endeavor, I draw inspiration from my father, who was essentially a one-man non-profit organization. He gave and gave of himself, running across the globe only to hug and comfort one lonely person. I pray that this structure will give me the opportunity freely and wholeheartedly to do the same.
Even though I’m still in the process of establishing Soul Journey, because I know it’s absolutely the right thing to be doing, I’ve taken on my first two events: a Shabbaton and concert for Selichot on Sept. 11-12 in Harrisburg, PA and a very important event and Fundraising (and Awareness) Campaign in New Orleans on Oct. 15. Please click here to read about Soul Journey and these two events that have come to mean so very much to me. I hope that you will join us in our Campaign and help us to Rebuild.
I look forward to sharing more about our upcoming work with you. I’m so elated to have this opportunity to use my father’s and my music to bring Tikkun Olam to all of us, to heal the world just one day faster.
Singer/songwriter Neshama Carlebach is continuing the legacy established by her father Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. His deep spirituality and his love of all humanity, filled every song he wrote and touched every person he encountered as he changed the face of Jewish music.