Rabbi Wants to Change His Title – to U.S. SenatorBy Ari L. Noonan @ 3:00 PM May 02, 2012
Rabbi Nachum Shifren
There may be no political candidate in the universe sunnier in his outlook, more optimistic in his disposition than Nachum Shifren.
A few years ago he started running against the largest targets available and climbing, at least psychologically.
Challenging his biggest fish yet – he looks exactly the way you would picture a traditional Orthodox Jew, down to his long, gray beard – Rabbi Shifren is chasing the U.S. Senate seat that 78-year-old Dianne Feinstein has held for 20 years. She is regarded as more unmovable than the Culver Hotel, which is not likely to be rearranged this century.
The field of nearly two dozen candidates will be sorted out a month from Saturday, in the June 5 California primary, and to hear him pitch, you would think Rabbi Shifren, a staunchly conservative Republican, is the invulnerable favorite.
In his third run at office the rabbi clearly means to become a senator, yesterday, today or tomorrow. His first two tries were for the state Senate chair held by Curren D. Price Jr. (D-Culver City).
There are arguably encouraging ways to analyze the votes he compiled in each race, but at no time was Sen. Price at risk of perspiring.
Rabbi Shifren, a Valley boy who first came to prominence as the Surfing Rabbi, is running for an obvious and persuasive reason.
“I love it, I love it,” he said, and his eyes grew.
Instantly, he swings into campaign mode.
“I am meeting Americans. I am meeting Californians. I am getting to know the low level of duplicity we have in our elections.
“Forget about the Democratic party. In the Republican part, corruption and total dysfunction, backbiting, people without scruples at all. Amazing. Unbelievable.
“I am learning a lot, though, and I have a great deal of name recognition in the state now.”
Rabbi Shifren’s voice gathers strength and excitement. “The Tea Party people know who I am. Republican Women Federated, everybody in the state knows who I am.
“I have spent the last year and a half traveling,” said the family man, “and I have lost a lot of money.”
How much does Rabbi Shifren need to raise to be competitive?
This quickly resembles like a silly question.
“Sky is the limit,” he replies. “Twenty million dollars isn’t enough. Forty million isn’t. These people are the richest Mafiosos in the world. You can have $150 million and lose big.
“When people ask me that question, I tell them it isn’t the money. If Meg Whitman couldn’t do it, how do they think I’m going to do it?”
(To be continued)