With all the ‘combinations’ of precipitation and lower temperatures coming into form, “Jerusalem the Golden” became all white as the winter season’s first snow storm blanked the city with 2 to 3 inches of snow. The snowfall is always a welcome diversion to the city’s children, though more a nuisance to their parents since the municipality announced that schools in the Holy City will be closed on Wednesday due to the Frosty the Snowman’s visit. The snowy weather also reached some higher elevations in the Galilee and really hit the northern Golan Heights, especially the ski site at Mt. Hermon, which had been unused for that purpose so far this year. With a little more snow in next few days, the site will probably be at least partially open to both skiers and people who just want to bring their kids to frolic in the “sheleg” the Hebrew word for snow.
The moisture for both the snow and the rains that have reached Israel is welcome relief to the country’s chronic water problems, and anyone who has visit the Kineret lately must have noticed that the lake level is a bit low – even to the point where fishing boats are sitting in the mud instead of floating in their mooring berths. The lake should receive enough water from both the melting snows on Mr. Hermon and from feeder streams (including the Jordan) to raise the water level at least half a meter. Even so, the lake level will still be about 2 meters below the accepted level to not cause any water shortage problems during the long dry season of April through October.
Not much rain has reached Israel so far this year, and what has arrived previously is far below what the country should have received by late January. Israel’s “rainy season” if one were to call it that, is only from December to March, although some rain does fall occasionally in October and November; and even some freak rain storms come as late as mid May.
But getting back to Jerusalem, a winter snowfall adds a special beauty and charm to an already beautiful and charming city. Seeing pictures of a snowy blanket on the Old City and the Mt. of Olives is especially enchanting, and despite any temporary inconveniences, I’m sure the citizens of Jerusalem will agree. It is written in Jewish daily prayer, referring to God’s divine assistance to the Land of Israel: “Thou causest the winds to blow and the rains to fall”.