Hazdan conquers Kilimanjaro for child welfare
Great Park Synagogue rabbi and Torah Academy Dean Rabbi Dovid Hazdan climbed to the top of the Roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, in February, taking a Torah to the summit.
He did the climb to raise money for children with special needs, raising $130 000 (R2.4 million) of which $15 000 (R275 860) was raised by the South African community for children in South Africa. Although climbing Kilimanjaro was on his “bucket list”, he was inspired to do this by a local friendship circle after it did a hike to raise money for special needs children.
“It was gruelling and spectacular; painful and inspirational,” said Hazdan. “It was a life-changing experience achieved with the power of the mind, focus, preparation, and absolute commitment.”
The unique logistics of the trip, including kosher food and implements, meant that he did the climb with a sherper, who carried the eruv for Shabbat.
“We constantly learned and shared life messages derived from the experience,” said Hazdan. “We carried a Sefer Torah and completed a tractate of Talmud and shared a chassidic discourse in honour of my father’s yahrzeit on Shabbos. We sang and shared words of Torah and stories of divine providence at a farbrengen [gathering] that lasted most of the day in the shadow of Mount Mawenzi.”
He described the night sky as “spectacular, with thousands of stars piercing through the darkness”, and said the walk to the summit began before midnight on the Sunday night in order to reach the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the highest peak in Africa in time for sunrise.”