Neshama and I agreed to publish her interview this week if we could overtly address the urgent need for peace and healing in Israel and Gaza. While you reflect on Neshama’s story, please reflect that each of us must heal so that we as a community can heal and come to peace with each other.
Neshama Carlebach is a beautiful soul who is destined to change the world. I was first exposed to the amazing music of her father, the acclaimed Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, as it made its way through my experiences in Jewish youth group and camp. Then two years ago, a close friend gave me an album of Neshama singing her father’s melodies with Brooklyn’s Green Hills Baptist Choir. As a Jew who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, I was deeply moved by both the singing and the sentiment of what it means to praise the divine together, not as separate communities. Neshama Carlebach is someone who is drawn to where the change must happen. I love her unshakeable spirit of the way things can be. Her faith journey is all of our faith journey—born to a great legacy, challenged to discover our true self, released to fulfill our great destiny.
“There’s the phrase in Tehilim (Psalms). It’s one of my most favourite phrases. “Y’hi shalom b’chelech, shalva b’armenotayich” (“May there be peace in our borders and tranquility in our castles”). It’s like you can’t have one without the other. To be real, peace has to come from the inside and has to flow out into the whole world. And you, you don’t have real peace if on the outside you are smiling and on the inside you’re falling apart. And you don’t have real peace on the inside when you’re acting angrily and you’re screaming at people… or even road rage, you know, takes you out of your source, takes you out of where your power has to be. We’re not meant to be angry, we’re not meant to judge, we’re not meant to be broken all the time. We are meant to fly, all of us. And I’m grateful that we have the capacity.”