As preparation for a “physical, mental and spiritual” quest in Israel, 10 of the men who will be taking part in Emunah’s Triple E Challenge were put through their paces by Israeli fitness and survival specialists at a training day in Mill Hill on Sunday.
When they undertake their expedition across the Judean desert from February 28 to March 6, they will have to negotiate waterfalls and other daunting obstacles using a variety of rope techniques.
Navigational skills will also be essential as participants each attempt to raise at least £10,000 in sponsorship for a village for dysfunctional children and a centre offering support and counselling to residents of Sderot, who have been living under constant threat of rocket attack.
The challenge is also Emunah’s follow-up to its successful “Jewish Princesses” events for women.
Under the watchful eyes of Major Maxie Katzir and fellow desert expert Irad Fenichel, the group tackled an obstacle course and abseil before being taught a series of knots. They were then split into groups, having been given the basics to start a fire and cook lunch. Afternoon activities included orienteering, survival techniques and first aid.
With his fear of heights, Hendon accountant Neil Isaacson had been dreading the abseil, but came through with the support of his Triple E
“I had a nerve-wracking morning,” the 45-year-old confided. “The rest of the group found it easy, but I needed some extra help. The abseil was the one thing I knew I would have difficulties with and it feels great to have finally done it.”
At 61 the senior man in the team, property company director Andrew Fisher is looking forward to the
“Being the oldest is unimportant,” he maintained. “I may have more experience, but it does not mean I will be better than the others.”
A fitness fanatic who spent two years travelling the world by Land Rover and motorbike, Mr Fisher said he had found the training day extremely helpful. “Today has been excellent, even though I thought I would find some activities much easier.”
The youngest in the group, 20-year-old Baruch Weisenberg, felt he had the best of both worlds. He could draw on the experience of others while adding his own youthful exuberance to the mix. “I believe my youthful mind will benefit others and that my flexibility and fitness could be a major asset.
“Today has been extremely important and has helped people get over their fears and get to know those who will be leading us in the desert.”
Emunah’s project administrator Bayla Perrin has an additional interest in the Triple E as husband Alan is among those taking part.
The training event had surpassed her expectations. “I did not think the guys would bond as speedily as the women, but it seems they have learnt about each other very quickly and enjoyed working as part of a team.”