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October 08, 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 6, Berger is at Yardenit Baptismal Site on the Jordan River, and he’s about to take part in a spiritual experience.

“(The baptism) is something I never anticipated doing here,” Berger says.

He adds: “It’s a powerful experience. I didn’t expect to feel anything, but it still just sort of came on me, just overwhelmed me.”

As he walks through the markets selling copious amounts of food and merchandise, Berger describes religion in Israel as an “industry.”

“This is the Holy Land,” he says. “This is the spiritual center of three different religions—the biggest religions on Earth—and it’s like Disneyland. … This is a place where you have a bunch of people all competing for power and territory and land, and so religion’s sort of an industry here.”

A place where people value hard work, public service and effective training, Israel is fertile ground for the CrossFit movement, Berger says. Back at CrossFit Modiin, the Level 1 Seminar is coming to a close.

“You guys are representatives of (CrossFit),” Berger tells his students, “and you’re going to be carrying this to hundreds, maybe thousands of other people in your country. … Carry that banner high.”

Berger has great expectations for the future of CrossFit in Israel.

“I think this will be the first of more Level 1s (in Israel),” he says. “And I can only see it growing like it’s grown everywhere else. No surprise—it’s CrossFit.”

Video by Carey Peterson.

14min 38sec

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

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1 Comment on “The Holy Land With Russell Berger: Part 6”


wrote …

This was a great series. Thanks to CrossFit, Russell Berger, and everyone else who was involved in putting this together for us to see.

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