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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘winter’

It’s Raining on my Money

Monday, March 10th, 2014

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014.

The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last night yours truly drove to the nearby town of Ra’anana in very serious rain and it got a little scary. Rain in Israel has a similar effect as 2 inches of snow in Atlanta, GA: folks behind the wheel stop thinking rationally.

Don’t ask what happens when we get 2 inches of snow.

Here’s a rain image from the Jaffa Gate in the old city, below David’s Citadel.

Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Winter of our Discontent

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

This is the winter of our discontent. Morbid, morose, awful weather in the US (yes, I know, I know. I should be living in Israel). So much snow that I’m convinced that my New Jersey town is an alpine ski village. Walking home from Synagogue with my kids is like a dangerous obstacle course, climbing snow drifts that easily reach to about 5 feet. Waking up every day to the same, dreary, bleak sky that inevitably drops another foot of snow on us. Coughing constantly. Feeling always sick.

The weather is the biggest story on the news. Sochi looks like the Caribbean compared to New York and New Jersey. Did you ever imagine that Russia would look tropical compared to the United States? Atlanta, which is the deep South for crying out loud, has been turned into Siberia. Everyone I know is going stir crazy from being cooped up inside. What else would explain why they have become experts in luge?

Last week I passed what was arguably the least productive week of my life. I felt lethargic, unfocused, easily distracted, and miserable. I had terrible writer’s block and struggled to scrape together a few tweets.

My kids tell me that, from Poland, I brought back a sinister Polish virus of some sort. I had gone for the Knesset’s historic visit to Auschwitz. Visiting the death camp in the dead of winter was bleak enough. But then I traveled on my own to see the last vestiges of the Warsaw ghetto. I ran around in bone-chilling cold witnessing the most depressing places on earth, where my people were frozen, starved, and gassed to death. Covered in so many layers I still shivered and shuddered. I wondered how anyone could have survived wearing rags and no shoes.

I came back not even realizing how psychologically and emotionally distressed I was. And it took a toll on me physically. My body became a walking pharmacy as I ingested every prescription drug known to man that can stop a cough, reduce a fever, and generally keep you alive when you don’t feel like living.

The sicker I became and the less productive I was, the more miserable I felt. We have a huge dinner coming up, presenting our annual Champions of Jewish Values Awards to, among others, Ambassador Ron Dermer, John Prendergast, Senator Cory Booker, Sean Penn, and Bret Stephens, hosted by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Michael and Judy Steinhardt. Aside from other responsibilities, the dinner is a colossal undertaking, with hundreds of guests expected at Cipriani in midtown. Our staff toiled at the undertaking and the effort helped me in overcoming my gloom.

But for me the weather was an external manifestation of the current state of the world, which is unexpectedly gloomy. We live in morally archaic times that can really drag you down. The world seems to have erased the line separating right from wrong. Yes, I know. We don’t live during the Second World War, where civilization itself was imperiled. We don’t live during the Civil War when America was cut to pieces between warring North and South.

And yet…

In those times there was a clear delineation between good and evil. Germany was evil. To the core. Slavery was evil. To the bone.

But the bad things happening in the world today seem to just arise spontaneously with noone bearing any responsibility. There is no evil party. One hundred and fifty thousand people have died in Syria. But noone is to blame. Assad is not a murderer. Rather, there is a civil war.

Iran celebrates the 35th anniversary of their revolution. It’s not “Long Live Iran” which is the slogan of choice but “Death to America.” But that’s OK because Iran, we’re told, has become moderate.

Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, comes in for international condemnation for a factory that makes fizzy drinks! A soda factory that employs more Palestinians and Arabs than Jews has become the focal point of renewed international condemnation of the Jewish state.

And the American Secretary of State, who we are told we cannot criticize because he has been an amazing friend to Israel (which he has, but what does that have to do with the current, unbalanced pressure or the right to criticize a public official?) warns that if Israel doesn’t sign a deal with Mahmoud Abbas, whose terms as President ended in January 2009 but has been extended indefinitely without an election, boycotts against the Jewish state will only increase. And why Israel specifically when other nations have human rights records that compared to Israel are positively appalling?

It’s all a little depressing. And it’s so much worse when you frame the never-ending assault on Israel within the context of the holocaust.

What’s the world’s problem with the Jews? What is this strange, eternal obsession? The Arab states together are 649 times larger than Israel. What abnormal world fixation could there be with Israel’s puny 21k square kilometers compared to the Arabs’ combined 13.5 million?

In the end, of course, winter will pass, the snow will melt, the sun will once again shine, and parents will fly kites and throw balls with their children in the park.

We can only hope that Israel and the Jewish people will similarly experience a bright summer after this winter of discontent.

Golan Heights Reindeer

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

According to GoIsrael, Odem Forest, in the northern Golan, is the home of a deer reserve, with many different species.

Nearby you can also see Rujum al-Hiri (Circle of Ghosts), a Megalithic structure about 5,000 years old that researchers believe was used for ritual purposes, burial or as an astronomy observatory.

And feeding reindeer?

Photo credit: FLASH90

Photo credit: FLASH90

Air Force Airlifts Generators for Blacked-out Towns in Samaria

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The Israeli Air Force has airlifted generators to end an electricity blackout in the Jewish communities of Itamar and Shiloh in Samaria (Shomron.)

The two towns, along with several other smaller communities, have been without electricity since last Thursday because of the savage storm that crippled Israel with more than three feet of snow and torrential rains in low-level areas. Teams of repairmen have been working around the clock to restore the electrical supply to all the hundreds of disconnected homes.

Aharon Katsof, a resident of Aish Kodesh in the Binyamin region of Samaria, told Tazpit News Agency, “We have been without power for five days.  We have been using wood for heat, and gas for cooking. We also lost our water supply, so we melted snow for water. During the first days we had a problem with food supplies, and we were completely cut off.

“At some point the army began to provide us with food. Those who had wood-heating hosted those families who had none. We had communal meals. Today, most cars were dug out of the snow, and so we can get in and out; the siege has been broken.”

‘Purity Patrol’ Helps Snowbound Women Reach the Mikveh

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Taharat HaBayit organization has been using a 4-wheel-drive jeep to take snowbound women in Jerusalem to the local mikveh, the ritual immersing pool.

“The organization’s top priority is raising awareness to the importance of the family purity mitzvah,” the organization’s chairman, Rabbi Yechezkel Mutzafi, explained to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot’s website.

“We see it fit to operate even with such serious conditions like rainy weather and heavy snow, so that as many women as possible adhere to purity laws and manage to reach the mikveh in the easiest and most convenient way.,” he said.

The Ice Man Returneth to Jerusalem; No Local Buses after 9 p.m.

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Ice-slicked roads are forecast for Jerusalem Monday night, prompting the halt of all local buses at 8 p.m. Buses from the capital to Tel Aviv will continue to operate until 11 p.m. but will stop running to other areas at 9 p.m.

One resident of Maaleh Adumim told The Jewish Press that buses that tried to negotiate hills between the two cities began sliding backwards. Bus service there will resume at 9 a.m.

Tsfat (Safed) announced that schools will be closed again on Tuesday because of icy conditions.

 

 

 

 

Storm of the Century in Israel Claims 4 Lives

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

The bodies of two youths from the southern Bedouin city of Rahat were discovered Saturday afternoon in Tze’elim River. The bodies were discovered by family members and police who had conducted a search in the area. The two victims had left their home midweek with their 4-wheel-drive vehicle and disappeared.

They bring the count of victims to 4, in the “storm of the century” that spread as far south as the Sinai peninsula and Egypt, covering Cairo in snow for the first time in 100 years.

Earlier today, a 13-month-old infant perished in a fire that started in his Lod home, probably from a faulty electric heater. And last night, a 30-year-old man died falling off the roof of his house after climbing there to repair a leaky pipe.

Three days following the beginning of the storm, many towns in Israel are still under siege due to the heavy snowfall, especially in the Jerusalem mountains and up north. Millions have spent the Shabbat without electricity in temperatures that hovered around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The IDF has been utilizing hundreds of heavy bulldozers and armored personnel carriers to clear the highways. The Defense Ministry has transported 35 tons of salt to Jerusalem and Tzfat.

The IDF has delivered thousands of hot meals to residents without electricity.

Jerusalem District police chief Yossi Pariente said today, following a meeting with Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich, that by Saturday evening all the isolated towns and villages in the region will be reconnected to the highway system. However, Rout 1, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem remains closed, possibly until Sunday morning.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/storm-of-the-century-in-israel-claims-4-lives/2013/12/14/

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