I was recently in New York City and had the good fortune of popping into a pre-opening performance of the new off Broadway production, Soul Doctor. Soul Doctor is the story of the legendary Shlomo Carlebach and his evolution from an Orthodox Hassidic Rabbi to Jewish folk singer and composer. Any person over the age of 40 who has spent time in the world of mainstream American Judaism will recognize his tunes. Carlebach's expansive perspective of Judaism and his open acceptance of less religious, secular Jews and the disaffected youth of the 60s was a monumental shift in the Jewish outreach movement and he left a legacy of soulful, loving music and a renewed Jewish community.
As a disclaimer, Josh Nelson, the talented musician who plays Shlomo and his amazing partner, Neshama Carlebach, the real-life eldest daughter of Carlebach (and musical celeb in her own right) are new and dear friends of mine. Their invitation to preview the show one evening was a no-brainer.