The House of Surf and Prayer is a body, mind, spirit approach to Judaism. It is a model for practicing an integral holistic approach to spirituality. The world is our Sanctuary, and the core practices are meditation, yoga, chanting, surfing, study, and social action.
The founder, Rabbi Hanniel Levenson, was born in Haifa, Israel and his formative years were shaped in Manhattan, NYC. Hanniel received a B.A. in Religion & Art from New York University, a Master of Science in Environmental Policy from Bard College, and Rabbinical Ordination from The Academy for Jewish Religion. Hanniel was also a competitive gymnast for 15 years and is now a yoga teacher, painter and Surfer.
Hanniel asks all free seekers and spiritual warriors to join him on the body-mind-soul train. Life is a journey in practices of playfulness, liberation, and cosmic wonder. Drawing upon the wisdom masters of the world's traditions and cultivating the ritual architect potential in all.
Join the Newsletter at the bottom to stay Connected!
The Core Practices
“While you are continuing this practice, week after week, year after year, your experience will become deeper and deeper, and your experience will cover everything you do in your everyday life. The most important thing is to forget all gaining ideas, all dualistic ideas. In other words, just practice zazen in a certain posture. Do not think about anything. Just remain on your cushion without expecting anything. Then eventually you will resume your own true nature. That is to say, your own true nature resumes itself.”
― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice
The practice of meditation is a life-long practice of stillness and silence. It is a precious tool for reflection towards breath awareness and developing a posture of mindfulness to the present moment. Committing to a sitting practice both alone and in community is a focal component of the House of Surf and Prayer. We come together weekly to share each other’s company in silence and provide a safe environment to share whatever is coming up on that particular day in that particular session. It is through the practice of silence and sharing that the intimate bonds of a community are nurtured.
“Everything you want to teach your soul, you must first teach your body.”
- Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
We practice yoga so as to learn about our bodies. With a deeper investigation of how our bodies move with our breath we are able to create a deeper stillness in our sitting practice. Yoga is prayer for the body and fosters a strong, flexible and balanced physical and mental disposition.
“You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"
― Jon Kabat-Zinn
Surfing is one of the adventure activities incorporated into our community. It is a way to engage with the natural environment and strengthen our connection to the divine in nature. Surfing and all activities in nature provide a sacred meeting ground for communal gatherings. Whether it is surfing, dipping your toes in the water, or sitting quietly watching the waves; the ocean is a re-envisioned Mount Sinai. A place where we all can gather and collectively experience the divinity that permeates all existence. The Ocean is the womb of the earth and to be held by it reminds us of what it means to be a child again. To surrender and let the Source of all life hold us.
"In seeking wisdom the first step is silence, the second: listening, the third: remembering, the fourth: practicing, the fifth: teaching others. " -Ibn Gabirol
There is a perennial wisdom that is woven throughout the world’s traditions. Every traditions speaks of a Oneness - a unity that pervades all life. Using the texts of the Jewish tradition as a jumping off point we will study sacred texts from all religious and spiritual paths and build a knowledge base and framework for dialogue and learning.
"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
Social Action projects are one of the more accessible pathways into building community. There is no holier task than giving of yourself to a cause or someone in need. Service projects look to help heal the earth and all sentient beings. Ocean lovers and City dwellers know of the importance of caring for our community, waterways and green spaces. The House of Surf and Prayer is committed to consistently engaging in tikkun olam projects year round from Manhattan to Montauk and beyond.