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September 10, 2014

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In January 2014, CrossFit hosted its first Level 1 Seminar in Israel. Seminar Staff member Russell Berger took the opportunity to spend an extra week traveling the country, visiting its affiliates and experiencing the culture. In this six-part series, explore the Holy Land with Berger and the local community.

In Part 3, Berger is getting ready to hike up to the historic fortification Masada. His tour guide, Danny “The Digger” Herman estimates it takes an average person about 45 minutes to hike. Berger challenges himself and filmmaker Carey Peterson to try for 30.

They did it in 29:39.

“Running up … well, hiking up Masada was fun,” Berger said. “That’s probably the most scenic thing we’ve done.”

As Berger learns more about life in Israel, he notices a trend: There are no ultra-Orthodox Jews who are also CrossFit athletes.

“No, no absolutely not,” Murry Zborowski of CrossFit Modiin says when Berger asks him if an ultra-Orthodox Jew would do CrossFit.

Herman continues: “They completely ignore their bodies.”

When Berger talks with a rabbi who sits all day at the top of Masada transcribing the Torah, the rabbi says he has back pain due to constant sitting. Berger takes the opportunity to teach him how to squat properly.

“We just got an Orthodox professional scribe to do the air squat,” Berger says. “He looked pretty damn well.”

Berger adds: “That was a cool experience. I wouldn’t have thought he would do it. … Did not see that coming.”

Video by Carey Peterson

10min 8sec

Additional reading: Additional reading: International Exchange Mates by Pat Sherwood, published Dec. 2, 2013.

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