Inside the Story: Park City's Skateboarding Rabbi

Inside the Story: Skateboarding Rabbi

Stop by the skate park in Park City and you may be surprised to find a slim, energetic man who is actually Rabbi David Levinsky, the new Jewish leader at the Temple Har Shalom.

"Ultimately reformed rabbis are like anyone else," Rabbi Levinsky explained. "We all had a life before we were rabbi."

He started skating about 35 years ago and says this is his way of finding peace in a troubled world.

"I see it as a spiritual exercise, the same way that people would meditate," Rabbi Levinsky said. "Skateboarding is a piece of that- it's physical practice that's contemplative and very relaxing being in touch with the world."

He came to Park City just a couple of months ago, a much different place then his previous location as a Rabbi in Chicago. Rabbi Levinsky said leaving the hectic and big city life was a good fit for him, his wife and 11-year-old son.

"Park City is an amazing place. I wake up every morning and I'm absolutely astounded by the beauty of this place," he shared.

Rabbi Levinsky admits he doesn't fit the Hollywood image of what a rabbi looks like. He doesn't wear a beard or have a beard.

"My wife tells the joke that when she tells people she is married to a rabbi you should see the looks on their faces because they are imagining a guy that is about 5 feet 2 inches, bald, with a big beard and little bit over weight with a black hat," he explained.

But skateboarding is just the beginning of what this rabbi can do- he's also a rock star.

You may not recognize him if you saw him playing in his band 23 years ago, but Rabbi Levinsky used to jam out on the electric guitar with his hair flying around. Today he still uses his rock musician skills as a form of worship.

"Ultimately it's a way to connect with people and give them a message about being strong human beings," he said. "Rock music is something that has a spirituality. Ultimately, it's what you are using it for and where you direct it. I try to direct it up."

The new Jewish leader for the Park City synagogue says he hopes to use his variety of talents to bring his congregation closer to God.

"Why should I not use my skateboarding and my ability as a rock musician to serve God and serve people as well?" he concluded.

Rabbi Levinsky oversees a congregation of about 250 families. He got his PhD from Stanford in Religious Studies and says he couldn't imagine himself in a more beautiful place. He also enjoys riding his bike to the temple.