Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach is responsible for lighting a fire in young Jews around the world, using music to help them return to a religious path and feel welcome in their community. The image of the Rabbi with his guitar was immortalized not only through media, but also through the play “Soul Doctor” which featured his story on Broadway, and only recently closed.
Last Tuesday, September 27, Jonathan Greenstein and Co. auctioned off 10 items from the personal collection of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach at their auction house based in Cedarhurst, New York. Among the items was a silver kiddush cup, a challah cover, a menorah, and a few original photographs of the Rabbi playing his guitar. Over 200 bidders joined the auction via phone from around the world, only proving that Carlebach’s influence had no geographical limits.
The relation between the Rabbi and his music will never be forgotten, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the times that the Carlebach family would gather around their piano and sing with one another. The upright Heintzman and Co. piano made in the earlier part of the 20th century was sold for $25,000 at the auction, after a starting bid of $16,000. The lucky auction-goer who made the winning bid purchased so much more than just a piano. It was rather a whole amalgam of memories and symbols related to a rabbi that touched the lives of many that will always give this item an emotional presence in any private collection.
The auction was facilitated by Jonathan Greenstein, who is a world-renown expert in antique Judaica. He has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, NBC, and Fox. Earlier this year, he conducted an auction of the personal collection of Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. He will play a central role on the Jewish Channel’s upcoming series Judaica Hunter, which will showcase not only Jonathan’s vast expertise, but also the category art to which he has devoted his life. He believes that more people should value Judaica and care for the cultural gifts that such a creative people have given to the world.
“The auction was special to me since I grew up with the music and teachings of Rabbi Carlebach,” said Greenstein, alluding to an emotional connection he had with this past auction. He felt honored that he could help Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s family “share his memories.”