Monday, December 23, 2013

Neshama Carlebach Aliyah to Reform?

   In the wake of Neshama Carlebach's recent article on Reform Judaism that has gained much attention on the web, I would add that her father, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, underwent several transformational phases, or as he once hyperbolically phrased it with his smiling humor when addressing a Reconstructionist congregation: “I’m reconstructing myself day and night”. Nonetheless, he always remained rooted in Orthodox Judaism. Shlomo’s value system, while firmly entrenched in a life committed to religiosity, attained a unique contour when it interlaced with the spiritual questing of his generation.

Miriam Rubinoff (Dec. 20, 5:19AM): The word halacha implies movement, going forward. If you're not constantly reconstructing yourself, you're going nowhere. If you ever spent time with Reb Shlomo, you know that he was always in motion. His ability to accomplish so much in a finite amount of time sometimes recalled the teleportation skills attributed to the Ba'al Shem Tov. And I don't think Reb Shlomo was ever satisfied with what he had already accomplished in learning, in observance, or especially in outreach. There was always one more sefer, one more mitzvah, one more person yet to meet and to embrace.

Rabbi Sammy Intrator (Dec. 20): Reb Shlomo added at least once where I heard him speak on the subject that he is always Reforming himself & trying to Renew his spirituality all the while he wants to Conserve the beauty of yiddishkiet and is deeply dedicated to keeping the Orthodox principles of yiddishkeit. While his ahvas Yisroel knew no bounds & his ahavas habriyos was also unusually great his universalism was mystically transcendent & so basically leading an orthodox life was in not a contradiction for him as he looked to bring out the Zelem Elohim in all. As this conversation begins to play out in the next days it is important to remember that his deep Torah spirituality was always glowing with his deep love. May HKBH grant us all the ability to show that to each other even if we disagree with one another.