Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.

The Surfing Rabbi

A Surfing Rabbi?! How can a man be both? “The two worlds are very similar,” says Rabbi Nachum Shifren. “They both take discipline and dedication.”

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“Surfing is an out of body experience not part of this world at all and that’s why I like it,” continued Rabbi Shifren, a Chasidic Jewish Rabbi.

The Chasidic sect is one of the more of conservative factions of Judaism. Men wear dark suits, white shirts suits topped with black hats and long beards, which are never to be trimmed.

Rabbi Shifren grew up with the Southern California surf culture at his doorstep. By the time he was a high school graduate he was an avid surfer. He was more dedicated to surfing than his religion, nearly missing his own Bar Mitzvah to catch the waves at the famed Malibu Beach.

Through his youth, Rabbi Shifren has surfed great waves in Hawaii, Mexico and even Israel. In his youth, Rabbi Shifren shared the waves with some of the surfing superstars such as Terry Fitzgerald, Nat Young and Eddie Aikaku. Today, the Rabbi says “I may be old, but I’m good.” He is 54 years old.

He has been a lifeguard on the beaches of Los Angeles, a soldier in the Israeli Army and schoolteacher for under privileged urban youth in his native Los Angeles. He resided in Germany, were married to a German woman, the mother of two of his six children.

In his early 40’s, Rabbi Shifren returned to rabbinical school in Israel in search of knowledge. The introspective Rabbi said, “I got sick of people telling me what religion was. I wanted to take the journey myself.”

“Surfers are very independent, free-thinking people,” said Rabbi Shifren. In a world rife with materialism, “I’m going against the flow by going with God.”

So the surfer boy became the Surfing Rabbi, and an industry. Through his persona as the Surfing Rabbi, Rabbi Shifren has not only brought the two worlds he loves together but has molded himself into a marketable commodity.

Combining his spiritual learning with his teaching experience at a Los Angeles’ high school in a poverty stricken part of town, Rabbi Shifren has published a book, “Surfing Rabbi, A Kabalistic Quest for the Soul”, and is currently working on an documentary film project “Surfing to Live.”

His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing. According to Rabbi Shifren, Los Angeles’ urban youth drop out of high school at an alarming rate of 50%. “Nothing is being done to help these kids. It’s shocking. I want to work with these kids. It means a lot to me.”

“My trip as a surfer for the last 40 years has been all about hard work. To get to the end of the rainbow you have to bite the bullet.” (Meaning it takes hard work to achieve your goals.) This is the message Rabbi Shifren seeks to impart on today’s youth.

“Being a surfer makes me hip. I have to use everything in my arsenal… It puts me in a position to use their ideology to motivate them,” said Rabbi Shifren.

“My gig could have never worked 30-40 years ago. People weren’t killing each other over tennis shoes and bicycles.”

”When you step off land and into the water, you are out of this world. You get into a new space in your mind…. Surfing is the ‘par excellence’ religious experience.”

Text by Mimi Rohr © 2005

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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
Title:
The Surfing Rabbi
Date:
May 18, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- surfing the waves in Malibu, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  prays in his dining room at his home near Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  speaks with student Elizabeth Del Cid in his home near Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  prays in his dining room at his home near Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  poses with a copy of his book  ìSurfing Rabbi, A Kabalistic Quest for the Soulî in his dining room at his home near Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  in his living room at his home near Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  prays in his dining room at his home near Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  poses with gold medals he won at past swimming competitions. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  rinces his boards in his yard after a surfing session at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- gets his boards ready for a surfing session at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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May 18, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- on his way to a surfing session at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- waxes his board before a surfing session at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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May 18, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- before a surfing session at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- with students Elizabeth (R)  and Arcelia Del Cid before a surfing lesson at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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The Surfing Rabbi
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- with students Elizabeth (R)  and Arcelia Del Cid  on their way to surfing lesson at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- with students Elizabeth (R)  and Arcelia Del Cid  during a surfing lesson at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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The Surfing Rabbi
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May 18, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- surfing the waves in Malibu, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
Title:
The Surfing Rabbi
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May 19, 2005
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18-2267-1067
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- with students Elizabeth (R)  and Arcelia Del Cid  during a surfing lesson at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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The Surfing Rabbi
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May 18, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- surfing the waves in Malibu, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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The Surfing Rabbi
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May 19, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- surfing the waves at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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The Surfing Rabbi
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"- with students Arcelia (C)  and Elizabeth Del Cid  posing after a surfing lesson at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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The Surfing Rabbi
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May 18, 2005
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  posing after a surfing session at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
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Rabbi Nachum Shifren - a.k.a. "The Surfing Rabbi"-  at Venice Beach, CA. Rabbi Shifren, 54, combines his Hasidic Jewish faith with his love of the surf by teaching both.  His goal is to teach youth the lessons of life through surfing.
Title:
The Surfing Rabbi
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May 18, 2005
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24-2267-1015
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