Editorial Reviews"Rabbi Shifren's unique perspective and his lifelong involvement with the ocean, will make his "surfari" a very special journey into the heart and soul of surfing."
- Shaun Tomson, South Africa, former world surfing champion.
"Surfing Rabbi combines surfing and spirituality--which most surfers already know as fact...Through his adventures, Rabbi Shifren takes you down the path of enlightenment."
- Nat Young, former surfing world champion
"...a man finding his mission. Nachum combines religion and the spiritual meaning of surfing from its roots to the present. I especially liked the stories about Tom Zahn and Mickey Dora!"
- Mike Doyle, legendary waterman, big-wave surfer, author, Morning Glass
"Rabbi Shifren's search for the perfect wave turns into the ultimate journey, a search for one's soul. His thoughts embrace the sea, the earth and his reflections of the times that shaped his quest. Just like the sport he cherishes, his life is about riding the energy of the universe."
- Ira Opper, surf film cinematographer
"Gentiles, Jews, and secular beach rats of all stripe will find adventure here.”
- Scott Hulet, editor, The Surfer’s Journal
“Fascinating…ultimately important…a spiritual autobiography as compelling and original as its author.”
- Michael Medved, film critic, nationally syndicated radio host
“In the spirit of Jack London…an amazing true life story of lifeguarding…and surfing…”
- Arthur C. Verge, Ph.D., Professor of History, El Camino College
“One of the most compelling autobiographies in recent memory, …challenges the foundation of religious outlook…a breathtaking spiritual expedition.”
- Rabbi Aaron Parry, educational director, Jews for Judaism and former spiritual leader, Young Israel of Beverly Hills
Not since "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" have two more unlikely activities been combined into one book title. Surfing Rabbi? If that sounds like an oxymoron to you, then you really should read this book. It's the totally honest personal story of a 1960's Malibu beach rat whose love of surf and sand eventually became a spiritual quest to delve more deeply into the power of his own Jewish roots. Today, he is both a Hasidic rabbi and avid surfer, demonstrating that to be a "religious Jew" does not have to mean withdrawing from the modern world.
I read this book on a cold, snowy, Minnesota Sabbath afternoon, which is about as far away from the ocean as a person can get. I knew nothing about surfing when I opened the book, but soon found myself completely caught up in the story. Here was a man so devoted to surfing, that he drove through a war zone just to get to the beach. Foolhardy or adventurous? I had to find out!
Rabbi Shifrin writes in a clear, personal style, so that even a landlubber like me can easily picture the beaches and surfer culture that he describes. Not that every scene comes out of "Endless Summer." Shifrin's first attempt to catch a wave at Malibu was a dangerous disaster that knocked his fantasies down to earth -- but also spurred him on to master this most challenging of sports. He became an expert surfer, lifeguard, and triathelete, so totally focused on riding the waves that he had little time for anything else in his life. Still, something was missing. The quest to fill that void eventually led him back to his Jewish roots and on to rabbinic ordination, where he learned that Judaism, like the ocean, is deep beyond imagining.
Today, Shifrin uses surfing as a form of youth outreach, and is known worldwide as "The Surfing Rabbi." His life, in the words of surf film producer Ira Opper, is about "riding the energy of the universe." Gentiles and Jews alike will find inspiration in this fascinating story.
- Rabbi Yonassan Gershoml
Just a quick note of congratulations to Norm on his book. To consistently marry the challenge of surfing with the challenge of his religion represents a fascinating combination of stoke and faith that I've rarely seen, if ever, in my 35 years of riding waves.
As a founder of both the Surfrider Foundation and the Groundswell Society, I have always felt that surfing has to be something more than self-gratification, or else it becomes an obsessive pasttime that has no worth to anyone. Norm has been able to draw parallels between the world of riding waves with his religion that holds up under the scrutiny of long time surfers as well as Orthodox Jews. Now that Norm has put it all in a book, his efforts, along with his Surf and Soul Magazine, have actually enriched my perspectives on surfing and what's it is worth.
- Glenn Henning