A Paradoxical Legacy: Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's shadow side

By Arthur Waskow, Sarah Blustain

Lilith Publications, Inc., March 31, 1998

An Orthodox rabbi by training, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach took down the separation between women and men in his own synagogue, encouraged women to study and to teach the Jewish texts, and gave private ordination to women before most mainstream Jewish institutions would. Shlomo Carlebach also abandoned the Orthodox injunction that men and women not touch publicly. Indeed, he was known for his frequent hugs of men and women alike, and often said his hope was to hug every Jew -- perhaps every person -- on earth. It is an alarming paradox, then, that the man who did so much on behalf of women may also have done some of them harm. In the three years since Rabbi Carlebach's death, at age 69, ceremonies honoring his life and work have been interrupted by women who claim the rabbi sexually harassed or abused them. In dozens of recent interviews, Lilith has attempted to untangle and to explain Rabbi Carlebach's complex legacy.

Also included is Arthur Waskow's "Sex, the Spirit, and the Danger of Abuse."

Reader responses can be found here.

Topic: Communal Responsibility, Orthodox Judaism, Abuse, Power, Leadership, Women, Clergy, Music

Name of Publication: Lilith

Editor: Weidman Schneider, Susan

Volume/Issue: Vol.23/no.1

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Waskow, Arthur. Blustain, Sarah. A Paradoxical Legacy: Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's shadow side. Lilith. Lilith Publications, Inc.. 31 March 1998: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=9965


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