Tikvat Israel Congregation Rockville MD

A Friendly, Participatory and Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, Maryland

An Evening of Intimate Song at Rescheduled Neshama Carlebach Concert

BY BETTY J. FISHMAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, TIKVAT ISRAEL BULLETIN

Neshama Carlebach

Tikvat Israel is about to discover the energy and sparkle of Neshama Carlebach, virtually.

In her hour-long show at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 13, billed by concert promoters as “an intimate evening of song,” the New York-based singer/songwriter is expected to cover a few classic songs the audience will recognize combined with pieces from her latest album “Believe,” which debuted last year. But whether the numbers are old or new, she says, “No matter what I am singing about, my song is a prayer.”

Carlebach began singing and acting when she was only 5.  In her career, she has sold more than one million albums and was a six-time entrant in the Grammy Awards.  Much of her music is original.  Asked how her songwriting is influenced by the news of the day, she responded that we live in a broken world, to which she is determined to bring light and hope.  “There is power in believing in yourself, she says, “so don’t give up, even when your world feels broken.”

This concert will be a solo performance.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carlebach has not been able to work with her backing band. Yet she says she is looking forward to the intimacy she has found in performing virtually.  She has done nearly 300 events in the past year, all from home, and mostly by Zoom. The Tikvat Israel show will be presented through Zoom.

Unlike a live concert on a stage, where people in the back row can barely see her and the lights prevent her from seeing anyone at all, the virtual format makes her feel more connected.  “It is strangely separate and yet so intimate at the same time.  It’s weird,” she said, to be looking at herself as she performs.  She feels she does her best work when she is not thinking about herself, but she has embraced it and learned from it.

Connection is very important to Carlebach. So even in this time of pandemic, she averages about six events and two podcasts per weekend and has been able to be present all over the world. She becomes emotional talking about singing at weddings and conversion ceremonies, shiva homes and funerals, hospitals and hospices. What she misses most is working with her musical partners and the instant feedback she gets at a live event.

Carlebach lives in New York City with her husband Rabbi Menachem Creditor and their combined family of five children. In “normal” times, she often collaborates with musicians of different faiths and partners with secular organizations as well as synagogues. She has been featured in major Jewish music festivals across the U.S. and around the globe.

Tune in on March 13 to be enchanted by her beautiful voice and stirring lyrics. Admission is free, contributions gratefully appreciated. You must register to obtain the login information.