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Orthodox Jewish Surfer

Orthodox Jewish surfer

Meir believes that his conversion to Judaism has made him a better surfer. Born and raised without religious ties, Meir was fascinated with the sea at a very young age. He began surfing when he was 12 and met the love of his life, Melanie, on an around the world surfing trip at the age of 21. A year later the two were married and returned to Israel.

Meir, 34 years old, is married to Nava (formerly Melanie) and father of six. Meir was born and raised as a secular child. The sea and breaking waves fascinated him at an early age. He started surfing at the age of 12 and at the age of 21, he went on a surfing trip around the world. In the Philippines, he met Melanie. It was love at first sight. When he was 22, and she turned 18, they got married. Upon their return to Israel, and after a slow process of several months, Meir started turning to Judaism. “Force majeure” is how he sees his return to religious faith. His wife Nava has chosen to follow the path in his footsteps as well.

Chronicling his devotion to his faith, family, and the ocean, the black-and-white photos are a riveting look at a unique lifestyle that seems to transcend expected boundaries often associated with the faith.

Meir and Nava raise their children in Jerusalem. Meir maintains his passion for surfing along with his routine religious studies and family life. Whenever possible, he drives to his hometown, changes from his heavy black clothes into a wetsuit and surfs. Meir says, “Ever since I became ‘Baal Teshuva’ (newly religious), my surfing has greatly improved. It has become better than ever. Surfing in the open sea sharpens my thoughts, calms me down and improves my coordination.” He is an uncommon creature both in his religious study group and with his surfing mates. Nevertheless, both groups accept him with love.

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