Living in the Present: Part 9 of our Aliyah Journey

Photo taken January 27, 2022 in Jerusalem, Israel.
Photo taken January 27, 2022 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Last Thursday, Jerusalem experienced one of its rare snow days. We woke up and saw the city covered in a thick white blanket—it was magical. I am not particularly a fan of snow after spending four cold years in the Northeast for college. But there’s something special about that first snow, especially in a place where it’s not the norm.

Since rain was in the morning forecast, my husband and I woke up at 6:00 AM to trek outside. Naturally, it didn’t rain for another few hours (weather predictions aren’t that reliable here). Nonetheless, we enjoyed walking through the fresh snow and then retreating into our warm apartment (until the power went out, but that’s another story!)

The kids in the neighborhood were over the moon. They already went outside late the night before to play in the first batch of snow. It was quite a sight to see Israeli children running around the dark parking lot, gathering fresh snow to make snowballs. I can still hear one boy screaming “Sheleg!” (“Snow!”) and see another jumping on a car’s hood to collect snow from the windshield.

In the morning, we saw some kids trekking through the snow with their families. Others practiced sledding with boogie boards. The Chabad kids next door stayed out even in the rain, determined to extract every ounce of fun from the day. We saw them making an igloo with surprising skill for kids who rarely experience snow. “They are building a new Chabad House Eskimo style!” my Grandpa remarked. My favorite sight was watching the kids roll a giant ball of snow that eventually got too big for them to move.

The next day, the snow was gone. Apart from a few small piles, the rest had washed away in the rain. I was used to piles of snow and ice lasting for weeks, if not all winter, in the Northeast. Here, it was almost like the snow didn’t happen at all. The experience brought me back to Sukkot in Jerusalem. For the entire week of the holiday, the city was lined with Sukkot, temporary dwellings. The day after the holiday, most Sukkot were gone, packed away for the next year. It was almost like they were never there in the first place.

There is something magical in Jerusalem about these ephemeral experiences that are there one day and gone the next. Afterwards, they live in our pictures and memories like a capsule in time. It is like the universe is saying, “Enjoy these special times because they won’t last forever.” Savor the moment, be in the present, make the most of this time. We only have one life to live, and we have to carefully choose how and where we want to live it. May we all have the presence to live in the present and build a meaningful, authentic life.

About the Author
Manya Ronay is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and health journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She holds a BA in Journalism and Media Studies from Rutgers University and an MS in Health Education and Behavior from University of Florida. To learn more about Manya and to connect, visit
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