A firm believer in the power and wonder of wave-riding, to build character, diligence, and inner calm and tranquility.
Rabbi Shifren started his surfing career at Malibu in 1962, and is considered one of the oldest, most dynamic, and physically fit athletes in the water. He has surfed all over the world, including in Australia, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Israel.
As a fitness instructor in the army, he continues to work out daily and trains for lifeguard events nationwide. In 2019, he took 2nd place at the United States Lifeguard National Championships in his age group.
He speaks fluent Spanish, German, and Hebrew, and has been a classroom teacher for over 20 years, serving not just as an academician, but as a mentor and advocate for young people looking for answers. He was an LA County Beach Lifeguard for 10 years and is accredited with reinstituting the Catalina-to-Manhattan-Beach (32 miles) paddleboard race, placing 3rd, 4th, and 3rd place in consecutive years. He was blessed to have had world-famous lifeguard and waterman. Tom Zahn, as his coach and mentor during his formative athletic years as a lifeguard and beyond.
An ardent advocate of educational reform and empowering the youth of our country, Rabbi Shifren ran for California State Senate in 2009, and then in 2012 ran for US Senate for the State of California. A father of 6, with 8 grandchildren, he has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of his countrymen with his no-nonsense attitude of hard work, fitness, academic excellence and the building blocks needed for our youth to be successful and vital in their work and personal lives.
To celebrate his 70th birthday, he is planning on surfing one of the world’s biggest waves on Maui- “Jaws”- breaking the Guiness’ record as the oldest surfer to attempt such a challenge.
Rabbi Shifren speaks to all audiences about achieving goals, personal and family success, and how to live a joyous, and creative life- what he calls his own mantra: “Surf and Soul”. He is a firm believer in the power and wonder of wave-riding, to build character, diligence, and inner calm and tranquility, as portrayed in his world-wide acclaimed book, “Surfing Rabbi” (available at SurfandSoul.org).
Have Rabbi Shifren inspire and motivate your church, organization, or school with his clarion call to inner development of body and soul, a holistic approach to all aspects of our lives, that is unique and guaranteed to bring results to all participants.
"Rabbi Nachum Shifren's storytelling grabbed me. The Rabbi is the real deal. He has walked the talk. He has known and been close to extraordinary people in the surfing world.. He has experienced many extreme situations in the ocean and we are fortunate that he has survived and taken the time to put them on paper for us to read and enjoy. To top it off, he has a very descriptive and entertaining way of telling the tale. Mahalo Rabbi!. Good work! Tell us more!!"
~ Felipe Pomar, National Peruvian Champion
1st place Duke Kahanamoku contest (Sunset Beach)
"I have never surfed. I am not a rabbi. And I am not a chassidic Jew. So why am I writing a forward to 'Surfing Rabbi?' Rabbi Nachum Shifren's vehicle is ....love for the ocean and surfing, touching people who would most probably never encounter a rabbi, let alone an orthodox one. By exuding a love of life and joy in the natural world, his story becomes a living ode to the Creator. His story is a good and inspiring one!"
~ Dennis Prager
Nationally syndicated talk-show host, Author, and Lecturer
"A totally absorbing ride into the soul of a unique surfer. A must read!"
~ Shaun Tomson
Former Surfing World Champion
"Gentiles, Jews and secular beach rats of all stripe will find adventure here."
~ Scott Hulet
Editor, The Surfer's Journal
"In articulating with such sincerity the twin passions that have illuminated his path, Rabbi Nachum Shifren has produced more than just an entertaining chronicle of the surfing life, but rather a poignant document of faith, asserting with an engaging earnestness that spiritual fulfillment awaits the truly devoted…both on and off a surfboard."
- Sam George
Former editor SURFER Magazine
"Rabbi Shifren has once again shown us the heart and soul of our cherished sport!"
~ Kathy Kohner
The real-life "Gidget"
"I have known Rabbi Shifren for 50 years as a lifeguard and dedicated Malibu surfer. After his mentor Tommy Zahn took him under his wing, he was in good hands and the ocean was his! Love and Aloha"
~ Mike (Muzzy) Marcelino
"Rabbi Shifren is a patriot and dedicated educator"
~ Cong Dana Rohrbacher
"Rabbi Shifren is an intellectual whose ideas can bring America to its senses"
~ Herman Bailey
Christian Television Network
"His views on America, her survival, and our culture will resonate with you and your family"
~ Joe R. Hicks
Former executive director, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
"It is a breath of fresh air to have someone like Rabbi Shifren speak with us with his novel approach in bridging the gap between living a spiritual, meaningful life and what some would call the 'real world'. He manages, in an amusing way, to reach even the most cynical person and inspire them!"
~ Rabbi Avraham Friedman
"...masterful and engaging...an inspiration to Jew and non-Jew alike...a great book, with universal appeal!"
~ Rabbi Moshe Wisnefsky
Co-founder, Ascent Institute, and Editor, Gal Enai Publications
"Thanks so much for your talk on 'surf and soul' at UC Berkeley Chabad. Your 'laid back', cool, and riveting talk about what's really important in life keeps being discussed by the UC Berkeley students months later!"
~ Yehuda Ferris
"During his speech here in Brooklyn Heights, the participants were witness to incredible surfing tales from Mexico, Hawaii, Mauritius- peppered with humor and wit. Listeners took an active role in questioning Rabbi Shifren about everything from 60's activism, spiritual trends, and physical fitness. But most important is his message to our young people, inspiring them to greater heights and meaning."
~ Simcha Weinstein
"I read your book slowly, savoring every word. Mex, Centro, Peta- you nailed the vibe!"
~ Kevin McClusky
"You have portrayed a wide spectrum of people-not just surfers, but legends who are watermen/women. This is a historical gem! You are a laureate and your work merits being a permanent part of surfing heritage. A warm aloha."
~ Gary Stellern
Past President of Malibu Surfing Association
"Your tales of Mexico are great, especially for those of us who have ventured south. Your reflections of Tom Zahn are the stuff of legend- well done!"
~ Jim Traynor
Malibu surfer for over 50 years
"Rabbi Shifren is at his core a surfer. "Surfers...Who Don't Surf" recalls that being a surfer has nothing to do with simply riding waves. Shifren gives us a glimpse of what being a surfer actually is!"
~ Dr. Bill Rosenblatt
Rincon, Puerto Rico
"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....his life is about riding the energy of the universe."
~ Ira Oper
Oper Productions, Surf Film Producer and Cinematographer
"Like hunters across an open land, we hunted blue mountains across distant lands and shores. We had beautiful women, and the women had beautiful men. Then slowly, we became older, got jobs, raised families, some lasted longer than others....But time, age, and injury outlasted most! You talk about the old days and the waves- it's all well done!"
~ Skip Engblom
Surfer since 1960
"Thank you for the precious opportunity to read this work. The charm and fluency kept me popping along. High entertainment and lots of humor!"
~ Stanley Stanert
"It is so easy to let the little aches and pains, crowds, and bygone memories of perfect waves give you a reason not to surf- but the ocean is the source of my life and I hope to keep going till I die! How fortunate are you to have known Tom Zahn, whose commitment to fitness is an inspiration to us all."
~ Mike Takahashi
70, Sunset Beach, Hawaii
"This transformative piece held me spellbound. After seeing herein words of Kabbalah, I realized this book's capricious author was cooking up a plan to share some of this esoteric wisdom with readers. Mesmerizing sacred gems, whimsical levity, and iconoclastic critique of mainstream society- all typical of radical remarks Nachum is known for. The helter-skelter lawlessness of Mexico is meticulously exact. Reading this I can taste the saltwater air, spicy frijoles, and my fingertips are singed from the still hot torts! This teacher explains potential "devekut" or cleaving: converting the physical energy to the spiritual-while floating in the surf. The precious cast of characters in "Surfers...Who Don't Surf" are the figures of legends. This literary treasure is evidence that there is more to extract out of life and an invitation to define where more internal fire can go!"
~ Amanda Wiedeman
Artist, spiritual world traveler, British Columbia