There is one thing that is hard to replace from 'the Old Country' for many Olim and that is snow. Our kids (at least the ones who lived in America) have been desperate for some snow since we moved. This is our third winter here and they have been regularly asking, 'when is it going to snow?'. Well, yesterday after much build-up, the kids of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem (along with the North and even into the Northern Negev)got their wish. It snowed! To be sure, it wasn't the type of snow that our kids expected based on their experiences in our last two winters in America where we had really big snowstorms both years, but it really was snow. In fact, everything was completely covered with 3 or 4 inches of snow. The road to Jerusalem was closed for hours by the army and we had to abandon our car at the top of the yishuv for fear of losing control as we descended the very steep hill that leads to our street (a wise choice as there were a couple of fender benders and almost fender benders on that hill). During the height of the snowstorm yesterday evening I just assumed that the snow covered everything, not just in our area.
> Neve Daniel is known to be cold and windy and will generally get more snow than the surrounding areas due to its altitude (980 meters; 3,000 feet above sea level). So, when I walked Matan all the way up to the top of the mountain to catch his bus (doubting that it would come down the hill to pick up at his normal stop) I took along the camera to take some shots of the surrounding hills covered in a white blanket of snow. Upon arrival at the top, I looked west toward Betar and was stunned to find that the hills were green! The snow line apparentely began only a few hundred meters west of Neve Daniel!
Needless to say, the kids were absolutely ecstatic. They were practically jumping out of their skin with anticipation of playing in the snow, along with every other kid in the area; this, of course, excludes Amichai who was a bit perplexed by the entire experience. He kept looking at the snow and asking 'Ma Zeh?' (what is that?) and then saying, 'wet...wet'. The kid does not like wet floors at all. He won't walk on anything wet and had absollutely no interest in going out to play in the snow. He just stood at the front door saying, 'wet...wet'. Anyway, back to the kids who actually wanted to play in the snow. This being the Middle East, the kids aren't exactly equipped for snow. Every family pulls out whatever they think will slide down hill to use as a makeshift sled. We had brought a sled from America, so our kids were all set. We saw boogie boards, cookie sheets and all sorts of other things, but the best makeshift slide, by far and away, was debuted by our next door neighbor, Asher. Asher's dad owns an appliance repair service and offered Asher a piece of an old washing machine. This thing was totally uncontrollable but boy could it slide!!
Needless to say, the kids were out bright and early this morning swooshing down the hill behind our house with absolute glee, but were absolutely dissapointed when they got home from school (the start of school was delayed two hours) to realize that much of the snow had begun to melt and the streets were basically clear.
Much fun was had by all; the kids had a blast and we were all treated to the beautiful sight of Gush Etzion covered snow!