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Jul 13, 2014

Book Review: The Soul of Jerusalem, by Shlomo Katz

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: The Soul of Jerusalem: Teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, by Shlomo Katz


The Soul of Jerusalem.

The name alone is captivating. The name itself attracted me to this book. Ahhhh, Jerusalem.

The Soul of Jerusalem, by Mosaica Press, is hot off the press and just in time for the "Three Weeks" and "Nine Days", to show you a new look at Jerusalem.

The Soul of Jerusalem is a book written by Shlomo Katz, but it is compiled from the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. I admit I had a little bit of a hard time with this book at first - when I first started reading it. I am not a fan of "Carlebach" in any particular way, though I of course enjoy his music at times. The Carlebach style is fairly hassidic in nature, along with a bit of "hippy" as well, and that just isn't me. I often do not get it when trying to read such styled books, or listen to shiurim in that manner. The topic of the book made me give it more than a fleeting attempt, and I am happy I did.

Of course I have heard Rav Shlomo Carlebach - I have heard his music, heard his stories, and heard him give over his Torah. Who hasn't heard recordings of his performances? I noticed that while reading The Soul of Jerusalem, I was hearing Carlebach's voice. I commend Shlomo Katz, a wonderful musician (and probably wonderful teacher though I was never a student of his, though I have had the fortune to meet him a few times) for doing a fabulous job on writing this book as if Shlomo Carlebach was saying it. I could hear his voice in my head as I was reading the book. When I first started reading, a couple of times I had to stop to take a look, again and again, to clarify for myself who wrote the book, whose teachings were they and on what were they based-  was it Shlomo Katz or Shlomo Carlebach?  If I knew enough about Carlebach, which I don't, I almost would say they might be pretty close to one and the same (in style - not in performance). Katz did a great job writing this in Shlomo Carlebach's voice.

The Soul of Jerusalem is made up of a number of essays, with each essay being a chapter made up of numerous sections that follow one after the other to complete the essay, with each section also being a stand-alone lesson, while also being part of the larger essay.

I admit, there were a few sections I did not understand completely. I did not always successfully make the connections of different thoughts that were being connected. It is possible, maybe even probable, that it was because of the hassidic and esoteric style that is natural to Carlebach, and Katz, but not to me. But I enjoyed the book enough that I will probably now read it a second time to try to give those sections another shot.

The Soul of Jerusalem gave me another perspective on Jerusalem - on its beauty, on its centrality in our lives, on the Temple, on the mourning for it. It really opened my eyes up to another way of looking at and seeing Jerusalem in a way I never had perceived before.

The Soul of Jerusalem is essays and lessons that are peppered with stories, all told so beautifully in the heartfelt way Shlomo Carlebach was such a master of.

If you are a student and follower of Carlebach and of the Carlebach movement, you will surely read and enjoy this book. If you aren't, you might not bother - but you should. Take another look at Jerusalem.


buy The Soul of Jerusalem on Amazon.com



NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.



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2 comments:

  1. تحب قريبك
    LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
    אוהב את רעך

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great review, just ordered mine!

    ReplyDelete

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