When I first moved to Israel 25 years ago, (during the First Intifada), Sabras (native-born Israelis) asked me one question: “Why would you leave the United States where all they ever talk about is the heavy winter weather to live in this place?” I tended to interpret that question as an example of the stress that we Israelis constantly live under…all we could imagine as a peaceful country was the sort of place where the most important item at the top of the news hour was the weather!
I remembered that question yesterday, 9th January 2013. All day long the principle focus of the news was the stormy winter weather. With child-like wonder and excitement the newscasters repeated the mantra “It’s going to snow in Jerusalem. It IS snowing in Jerusalem.” I grew up in Chicago and so I know what a good winter snow storm is all about. Yesterday throughout the day we enjoyed very light snow flurries but no snow storm and surely no real snow in Jerusalem! It got to the point where I began feeling that the only snow in Jerusalem was the “snow-job” that the media were perpetuating on the entire nation. On the one hand it was cold enough for snow. But on the other hand all that was falling from the sky was heavy rain, intermittent hail, and fleeting flurries. The fleeting flurries were not enough to justify all the media excitement. I went to bed feeling disappointed, thinking: “We aren’t going to get that once-in-10 years real snow storm! Such a pity it would be delightful to spend tomorrow walking about in the snow.”
This morning when I woke up I felt it. I felt that unusual-for-Jerusalem muffled stillness and silence which indicates to me “Yes! Yes! Yes! There is REAL snow on the ground!” And when I looked out the window I was so very pleased…we HAD our once-in-10 years snow in Jerusalem. The whole city was shutdown. The Chicagoan in me MUST candidly record: “Yes, the whole city was shutdown after only 20 centimeters (8 inches) of snow had fallen! Morning newspapers were not delivered. Schools were closed. Universities were closed. Government Offices were closed. The supermarkets and stores opened late. Roads 1 and 443 the main routes into Jerusalem were closed all morning. That is what 20 centimeters of snow does to Jerusalem!” The media advised all of us to leave our cars at home and go for a walk instead. Since our condo had the heat going, indicating that we didn’t have any power failures, after checking for water damage and felled trees on our property we had a winter morning good breakfast of “Old-fashioned Quaker Oats” with apples, cinnamon and raisins. After breakfast Jay and I dressed warmly and headed out on our Jerusalem Winter Wonderland Adventure!
Here are photographs of what we saw along the way.
All photographs for this blog post are by Isa David-Ben-Rafael and are owned by IsraeLightly