Shabbat dinner with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach usually involved at least 50 people, maybe many more, according to his daughter, the singer Neshama Carlebach. It was Reb Shlomo’s custom to make kiddush and then pass around his wine, even if symbolically, to make sure that everyone had even a drop of the sanctified wine.
As the 10th anniversary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s death nears, his family and followers are working on a tribute to the charismatic man whose guitar-strumming, story-telling and bear-hugging approach to Judaism inspired a worldwide spiritual outreach movement that continues to thrive.
But the first international conference on his legacy may be tempered by past allegations — some dating back decades — that the pioneering rabbi harassed or abused women, although no such accusation was brought publicly while he was alive.
The Carlebach Shul was never afraid of broken hearts, but the last decade or so have tested the small shul on West 79th Street.
The shulís rebbe, Shlomo Carlebach ó the musical genius the congregation shared with the world ó went to the Other World in 1994. Rabbi Elichaim Carlebach, his twin brother who led the shul in Shlomoís frequent absences, died in 1990.
Rabbi Sam Intrator, Shlomoís closest aide, filled the void for a few years but left in search of other projects several years ago.