May 25, 2006
Spectator - The ‘Truth’ That Lies Beneath
For Josh Bernstein, host of The History Channel's "Digging for the Truth," myth-dispelling, artifact-hunting and body-straining adventure are part of his regular routine.
"Digging," now in its second season, has taken Bernstein from Peru to Greenland to Zimbabwe and Egypt searching for answers to archaeological mysteries, such as locating the lost tribe of Israel and uncovering the Holy Grail.
This Jewish Indiana Jones seems to have the travel bug in his DNA. Bernstein says he traveled from his home in New York to Israel to see family several times prior to age 2.
"My father was born in the Old City of Jerusalem, and I think just by nature the Israeli culture is very pro-travel. They still are today," he explains. "As far back as I can remember I have always been on airplanes and in other countries."
Bernstein grew up in a Conservative Jewish household on the Upper East Side, attended Hebrew school, was bar mitzvahed and enjoyed Shabbat dinner Friday nights. After he graduated from Cornell, where he majored in anthropology and psychology, Bernstein spent a year studying Judaic texts for at least 12 hours a day at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem.
While the majority of his fellow classmates continued their studies in rabbinical school, Bernstein opted to explore a different profession: "I wanted to pursue a career in the outdoors and get my knowledge from the same place."
Bernstein soon began working at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS) a program that teaches a field-based, hands-on curriculum of wilderness survival skills. After moving up the ranks to CEO, and establishing himself as an outdoor survival expert, Bernstein added another occupation to his resume: Television show host.
On "Digging for the Truth," he is able to integrate his interest in the social sciences and his love of frequenting remote destinations.
"I'm actually physically there with the experts ... exploring the actual tombs, temples or pyramids and bringing that to life in a very physical and hopefully accessible way," he said.
When he's not filming for the History Channel, Bernstein may be found in New York or Utah, or in Colorado, where four times yearly he continues to run courses for BOSS.
"Digging for the Truth" airs on The History Channel Mondays at 9 p.m., check local listings for additional times. Shows are also available on DVD.