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Wrestling with Legacy: The Carlebach Story

Simon Mendes
a young woman leans on the a bearded older mans' shoulder, speaking into his ear.

Neshama Carlebach is caught between the opposing legacies of her father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, a spiritual and musical icon whose work transformed the Jewish world. At the same time, Shlomo is a man accused of widespread sexual assault and abuse. As her father’s daughter and musical heir, Neshama faces the challenge of trying to reconcile his contradictory dimensions, while also developing her own, independent voice. Along with Neshama, the Jewish community at large, including survivors, academics, religious leaders and advocates continue to grapple with this legacy. Some argue Shlomo's music should be forever silenced while some defend and laud him as a savior. WRESTLING WITH LEGACY: THE CARLEBACH STORY asks if we can still, in good faith, sing Shlomo’s songs and whether it is ever possible to truly separate the art from the artist.