|"Hurva Synagogure Framed in Snow" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
|"The Open Cardo" c.2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
For a rare change, we can now bask in the the luxury of headlines involving The Weather - as safe a subject as there is, and one of two advised to Eliza Doolittle to stick to for safety's sake as she was trotted out to meet high society at the Ascot races.The other, health, got her into trouble. A delight to be pre-occupied with what is normally trivial, Jerusalem is in knots over what would count as a dusting in areas more familiar with the white stuff.
|"Lions of Jerusalem" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
We normally do not have a lot of variety in Jerusalem weather. We have two seasons, the dry and hot summer and the cooler and somewhat wetter winter. Spring takes about a minute. Fall doesn't exist, at least not to anyone expecting to see fall foliage or wear thick sweaters while feeling a tingle in their cheeks. It is really comical to follow the weather report which stays unchanged for six months: hot, hotter and even hotter.
|"Byzantine Church" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
If Eskimos are said to have an endless variety of ways to describe snow, and the English are known for their fine-tuning of names for rain, Israelis are stuck describing the infinitesimal gradations of kinds of summer heat. Endless blue skies are something we take for granted. The appearance of a whisp of clouds at the end of August gives us an inkling that the season is about to change from "sof ha kayitz (summer's end)" to winter when, not so coincidentally, the first rain falls like clockwork on Sukkot (the Festival of Booths).
|"El Aksa Mosque in Snowfall" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
We are never in the news for Extreme Weather. This week, after high winds and huge amounts of rainfall for a desert climate, we achieved weather nirvana when the temperatures dove below zero and gave us a blanket of white. Rare doesn't really describe this. Jerusalem, a hilly city, entirely shuts down for snow, or even the rumor of snow. We are woefully unprepared, no one has car chains or snow tires or the vaguest idea of how to drive in snow (you turn into the curve???) - not to mention ill-equipped to deal with it personally; lacking real cold weather gear, it is common to see people out and about wearing plastic bags over their shoes as a stop gap against the cold and wet. School was closed yesterday when nary a flake fell. What fun is that?
|"Going to the Western Wall" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
Today, it happened. The closed roads to Jerusalem left the city in a white seige. The trains ran to bring the snow- curious to see the white stuff for themselves, and leave their cars behind in the warmer climes. We got the real deal: snowball fights, snow people, hot cocoa to warm up with. From long experience with the elusiveness of a Jerusalem snow fall, we were up and out at the crack of dawn to photograph Jerusalem donning the white lace gown she seldom wears. By noon, most commonly, the snow has already become slush, and only at dawn can one put one's own footprint into fresh powder.
So, from my neighborhood to yours, a walk through the Jewish Quarter.
|"Two Menorahs in the Snow" c.2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
|"Past and Present" c.2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
|"Southern Wall and Mount of Olives" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
|"The Hurva Synagogue and Snow People" c. 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|
|"The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Snow" c.2013 by Heddy Abramowitz|