Photo Credit: Courtesy
Jon and Zachariah Farrell

Some people enjoy playing tennis or golf in order to stay in shape and relieve the stress of daily life. Mineola labor lawyer and Five Towns resident Jon Farrell and his son Zachariah relish hiking and climbing some of the world’s most challenging mountains in order to feel ‘healthy and alive’ to the max.

So when Jon heard about the Climb4Shalva challenge to hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro on February 19, he didn’t think twice about the opportunity.

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“Three years ago, I decided to get into shape by engaging in boxing and mountain climbing. I have already climbed Mt. Langley (in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range) and New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, which is a very steep mountain with difficult weather at times,” Farrell revealed. “Unlike my previous climbs where there were built-in halachic challenges such as keeping kashrus and Shabbat, the Shalva Kilimanjaro trek is what I would call a ‘Jewish climb’, where we would not have to worry about kosher food, Shabbat observance, making it a more meaningful, spiritual experience with other Jewish climbers.”

The Climb4Shalva adventure is one of a series of sports challenges that the Jerusalem-based organization offers during the calendar year to raise vital funds for their cutting-edge outreach programs aimed at the growing number of children with disabilities and their parents.

Mt. Kilimanjaro is a natural wonder and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Thirty Shalva participants hike through 5 eco-systems, including a rainforest, desert and arctic terrain. The trekkers spend Shabbat at the Barranco Wall, located at 3900 meters above the clouds, which promises to be an awe-inspiring Shabbat to remember.

Farrell was also inspired to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, as a result of Ernest Hemingway’s famed 1936 Esquire Magazine short story, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, which was adapted for the big screen and became a box-office sensation.

“I’m happy to give tzedaka to Shalva if it means that I can be with my son, and get closer to God,” Farrell explained.

And it’s not as if he is just schlepping his son, Zachariah, 18, along for the trek, as he is an experienced hiker in his own right.

“He is in great shape. He not only climbed Mt. Washington with me, Zachariah also spent time in Israel at a hiking camp, where the youngsters hiked all over the country,” added Farrell. “We are anticipating a once in a lifetime climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro where I hope to bond with my son and experience something special that we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

For more information about Shalva and the climb, visit their website at: http://www.shalva.org/new/

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