09/02/2014 01:42 pm ET Updated Sep 02, 2014

A Rabbi's ‘Spiritual Playground' Extends to the Surf

Philip and Karen Smith via Getty Images

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — Rabbi Hanniel Levenson had a problem. He had to teach Hebrew to a group of boys. It was his job.

But here was the thing. It was summer in the Hamptons. The sky was distractingly blue. There were swimming pools, bikes, bonfires, girls.

How could the rabbi convince the preteen boys that it was important to memorize a new alphabet and difficult prayers for their bar mitzvahs?

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