Rabbi Tsap, 34, is a mystic who spends his intellectual energy exploring the “more conspicuously spiritual side of Judaism”.
He writes a blog called Spiritual Skateboarding and communicates his thinking with people from all over the world. And he has recently published a book exploring the depths of Kabbalah.
Being a skateboarder has dual benefits for Rabbi Tsap. Apart from the health and wellbeing benefits he derives from the demanding sport, he clearly opens a respectful channel of communication with young people.
“The kids have some degree of admiration for me and pay attention to what I say,” he said. “They think of me as a friend. There is affinity and rapport.”
And while he has been a Rabbi for many years, he has only been the “Skating Rabbi” in recent times. Rabbi Tsap explained that he skated as a kid but gave it up when he was 15 years old.
He was encouraged by his friend Raph Brous to get back into skateboarding less than two years ago. Since then he has seen the barriers between himself and young people diminish drastically.
“It was almost like they had too much reverence for me then,” he said. “It was a barrier to effective communication.”
He said it was now very easy to speak with young people about life, drugs and God.
“At last now I am starting to feel like a real rabbi,” he said.