Snow Day! (Jerusalem, Part VII)

So, I wasn’t planning on taking a new batch of pictures so soon, but I ended up doing so, anyways.  And for good reason: Yesterday, we got 10 – 15 centimeters of snow in the center of the city; in outlying areas, suburbs, and higher places, there was even more.

“Ten centimeters!  Wow!” I can hear you say.  “That’s really newsworthy [not]!”

Well, actually, it is.  Last year, we had snow here in Jerusalem for all of three hours.  And it didn’t even stick that well.  I don’t remember if we had snow the previous year, but if we did, it was maybe a centimeter.

In addition, you have to take into account that Israel has had several years in a row now, that we haven’t had enough rainfall.  This year, thank G-d, we have been blessed:  The Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) has risen a lot, and is continuing to rise.  So, between the rain and the “deep” snow, we are doing pretty well.

The flip side?  Jerusalem isn’t really prepared for snowstorms.  It made the news when the mayor bought lots of salt, to melt the snow that would fall.  Everyone was waiting anxiously to see the snow, and when it looked, yesterday, like the weathermen had been lying, and there was only going to be rain, and bits of snow that didn’t stick, most residents were really disappointed.  See, snow means no school.  And for many, no work.  Snow means a vacation day.  (Last year, they let school out in the morning, because it was snowing – and by the time the last parents had come to pick up their kids, the snow had stopped, and was starting to melt.)

Shlomo woke us up yesterday at 5:40am.  He snuggled with me for about forty minutes.  Then we got up and started our day.  Yitzchak left to go to the mikva and to daven.  It turns out that the buses weren’t running, and neither was the light rail train, until about noon.

In addition, the little neighborhood grocery store (which is part of a chain) was closed.  I guess it’s a good thing that Yitzchak ran up last night to buy diapers and cornflakes for our neighboor (with her money, of course), instead of letting her wait until morning.  She would have gone up this morning, with her baby, and found the store closed.  (Her husband is in the army, comes home only on weekends, and they have a seven-month-old baby.)

Shlomo and I bundled up and ran out to the snow.  I was afraid that it would melt, and I wanted Shlomo to see it, and know what it was (and not be afraid of snow).  (Last year, he napped through the entire snowstorm.  Bummer.)  We kept changing places, just to play in different areas, and mess up different snow.

On the radio, they told us not to drive private cars, to stay at home, and to stay off the streets.  Roads were blocked, some for half the day; trees were blown down by the wind, sometimes causing power outages.  The electric company sent people to fix it, but the roads were all blocked, so the electricians were stuck.

And all this for 10-15 centimeters of snow in the center of the city, and maybe ten centimeters more on the outskirts.  Wow.

I have to say, before I came to Israel, we got almost two feet of snow, and there was still school.  An army of snowplows would come out, and the streets would be completely clear within two hours.

On the other hand, that’s what happens with terror attacks here: Everyone goes into action, and life returns to normal within the time span of a few hours.  Unfortunately, it has happened too often; Israel is prepared.

But, we are not prepared for snow.  I wonder sometimes, what would happen if the situation were switched?  How would America – or any country in Europe – react if they had terror attacks as often as they have snowstorms?  It would definitely be nice to switch places, and have more snowstorms than terror attacks.

After this long preamble, here are some pictures that I took of the snow.

This is the view of the snow falling from our window.  Most Israeli window shades are like what you see here: Wide, heavy plastic blinds that are usually built into, and slightly outside of, the wall.  They are rolled up by pulling a heavy string at the side, which is more of a pulley than a string.  These blinds, called “trisim” here in Israel, also provide some protection to your house, and they are often used for porches as well as windows.  When they are let down fully, there is a layer of heavy plastic (in some cases, metal) that covers the entire window (or porch door).  This makes it extremely hard to get in (or out), and I would assume (but maybe stupidly) also blocks rocks and debris from explosions, at least to some degree.

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After watching the snow falling, we went [back] outside.  (We had been outside at 7:30am, and then went back in so I could feed Shlomo breakfast, and we could warm up a bit.)  Here you can see the side of our building, and the trees.

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We then walked to a grassy hill, where there was lots of untouched, clean, snow, and no chance of cars coming even close.  Here is the beautiful view of snowy Jerusalem that we had from the hill . . .

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. . . and of some of the trees on the hill itself.  Notice that everything is green underneath.

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And one more view of Jerusalem . . .

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Then I put the camera away, and worked on making snowballs.  The snowballs had one of two fates: Either I threw them at someone (usually Shlomo, because he liked it), or I gave them to him to throw.  Since Shlomo didn’t throw his snow too far, the snowballs that I gave him usually ended up being recycled into new ones.  Shlomo also made snowballs – kind of.  And I rolled him in the snow, and he scooted down the hill – so, we had fun.  Or, he had fun.  And I enjoyed watching him have fun.

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