by Geoffrey Clarfield (December 2011)
"Geoffrey, it's Shlomo. Meet me at Bathurst and Eglinton in thirty minutes. We're going to play for the Sufis!"
This was not the first time I had received what I used to call "the call." I do not mean Max Weber's theory of the Protestant basis of the modern psychological calling, that draws an individual to his or her profession, but that semi frantic, always warm hearted voice that was part Shtetl and part hip San Francisco and belonged to the only psychedelic Rabbi I have every known and worked with, that spiritual wonder worker, Shlomo Carlebach. more>>>
Moshe Pesach Geller
While I am grateful for any good story about Shlomo and while I have no doubts of the events in the story, there is something powerful that simply doesn't ring true. Shlomo did not speak as was quoted. It is clear that the author assigned what he believes he remembered and heard. Somethings one might call quibbling, however in toto, it lacks the essence of what Shlomo was doing and why he was doing it.
1- Shlomo rarely sang in Yiddish. Simple as it is. he didn't compose in Yiddish and sang his melodies to the virtual exclusion of else.
2- In 35 years years close with Shlomo, I never heard him call Jesus a rabbi and never heard a reference to Muhammad.
3- Shlomo told of a time in Barcelona wen he learned that the source of Flamenco music is a 12th century parchment of music written by a Rabbi Halevy, who noted that this was a remnant of the music of the Levites in the Holy Temple.
4- It is the final paragraph which truly grates. Shlomo would in a million lifetimes not say the words the author suggests he would say. If hadn't heard everytime he was with Shlomo that Yiddishkeit was born with Avraham Avinu - Our father, Abraham, then he wasn't listening. Indeed, he would give up his life before he would ascribe any kind of primacy or positive significance to Jesus.
It hurts to write such words, but shame on you for putting such words in Shlomo's mouth.