R' Shlomo Carlebach was descended from old rabbinical dynasties in pre-Holocaust Germany. The Carlebach family is a notable Jewish family originally from Germany that now lives all over the world. He was born in 1925 in Berlin, where his father, Rabbi Hartwig Naftali Carlebach (1889–1967), was an Orthodox rabbi. His family left Germany in 1931 and lived in Baden bei Wien, Austria and by 1933 in Switzerland. The Carlebach Family emigrated to Lithuania in 1938 where he studied at a yeshiva. In 1938 his father became the rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jacob, a small synagogue on West 79th Street in New York City's Upper West Side. He and his twin brother Rabbi Eli Chaim Carlebach took over the rabbinate of the synagogue after their father's death in 1967. Reb Shlomo studied at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas and Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn, New York, and Beth Medrash Gevoha in Lakewood, New Jersey. His aptitude for Torah study was recognized by great Torah scholars and teachers, among them Rabbi Shlomo Heiman, and the Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash Gevoha, Rabbi Aharon Kotler. He was considered one of the top students of Rabbi Kotler.] Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner, who gave Reb Shlomo Semikha, considered it a loss to the Torah world that he chose a career in musical Jewish outreach over one as a scholar and teacher. During his yeshiva studies he was often asked to lead the services as a hazzan.Carlebach became a disciple of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. From 1951-1954, he worked as one of the first emissaries (shluchim) of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe who urged him to use his special skills and go to college campuses to reconnect Jews to Judaism. In 1972, he married Elaine Neila Glick, a teacher. They had two daughters, Nedara (Dari) and Neshama. Neshama Carlebach is a songwriter and singer in her own right, basing herself on her father's style and name.