There’s something tantalizing about the idea of snow in Israel. It’s not actually that infrequent an occurrence but somehow the images in one’s mind of the ubiquitous Jerusalem stone buildings glinting with the reflection of a relentlessly scorching Middle Eastern sun, oh, and camels, does not typically detour to sleds and snowmen. Unless you’re me. That it happens maybe once a year, and is usually quite insignificant in the major cities, also tends to relegate it to the category of ‘occasional phenomena’; snow is certainly not expected or anticipated regularly in Israel.
And so, when the weathermen start using the ‘S’ word in their reports, their predictions are met with a big mixture of reactions. Those who delight in it barely want to hear about it until it is a sure thing — i.e. when it is making its way in powdery wonderfulness from heavily laden clouds — since they do not want to be disappointed; and often are. With our weather systems affected as they are by the three continents whose land mass we bridge, the temperature can easily and unexpectedly be pushed up a few small degrees and turn our anticipated wonderland into a slushy mess — or into rain.
I’m a bit of a weather junkie. That is to say, I know nothing about troughs and millibars, but if there’s any newsworthy weather predicted I will watch its progress religiously both on-screen and through my window. And if the predicted weather is snow? Well, snow is like the holy of holies of such weather. Because snow is fascinating. And beautiful. And fun. Because snow is incredibly photogenic. Ever-changing. Entertaining. Snow in Israel is the precipitation we pray for all winter served up on a frosty, silver platter for our enjoyment.
Of course, no matter how much warning we have of a potentially massive snowstorm, we can never be adequately prepared in Israel. We don’t have the equipment to clear roads and make them safe for driving; our cars are not equipped for traversing through snowy, slippery streets, and our drivers have no clue what they’re doing out there… The best we can do is buy what we imagine we’ll need for several days, multiply it by two or three to cover the neighbors who will scoff and whine at the upcoming storm (*cough* David Z. *cough*) and end up needing, and be sure to have whatever you’ll need for sledding, snowman making, snow angels, and lots of hot cocoa.
Is there a blizzard on the way? I say, bring it on!