Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Here’s a question for Jewish journalists around the country: Why didn’t the Jewish media respond to Shlomo Carlebach’s passing with even a fraction of the coverage (and adulation) that black papers (and almost all newspapers) are allocating to Michael Jackson? Was it that Shlomo, as a single, unmarried man attempted to pick-up adult women, as opposed to the pre-pubescent children with whom Michael Jackson sought companionship? What exactly was wrong with what Shlomo did, when he was single, and later, when he was divorced? Shlomo never had to pay hush-up money to accusers, as did Jackson. None of the accusations against Shlomo ever went to trial, as it did with Jackson (who was every bit as innocent as OJ, said the jury).
Remember, most of the accusations against Shlomo stem from the 1960s, when Shlomo was a folk-singer, not a clergyman in any conventional sense. Did the naturally romantic Shlomo act any differently with women than did Woody Guthrie? What was Shlomo’s crime, other than loneliness?
Shlomo was a musical and spiritual genius, in the realm of King David. Only a barbarian would think that Michael Jackson’s contributions surpassed Reb Shlomo’s by any measure, whatsoever. That Shlomo’s funeral was poorly attended (relative to Jackson’s) and that the Jewish media in 1994 was incapable of recognizing his passing as the loss of a giant, is something this generation will have to explain to history. If any Jewish adult, or anyone’s child, knows more or feels more about Michael Jackson than they do — even all these years later — about Shlomo Carlebach, that is something you ought to wonder about. I miss him still.