If you haven’t heard by now, Jerusalem got slammed with snow this past week. We went from a miserable, rainy and windy Wednesday to a gleeful snow day on Thursday. The snowfall continued into Friday and that is when chaos began to ensue. But despite all the chaos, snow still makes us happy!
Thursday was a wonderful day! It started snowing around 7 am, and I couldn’t help standing by the window watching the big flakes flitter down. It had been cold the day before so the snow began to stick almost immediately. When Adam got home from synagogue, we bundled Adina up to experience her first snow. We were so happy to be outside, but she found it shocking whenever the snowflakes hit her face. After taking some pictures, we went back inside and had a snow day breakfast of eggs, toast, and hot chocolate. We snuggled on the couch to watch a movie as the snow continued to fall. It felt just like a snow day back in New England!
The day continued to be relaxed although Adam and I did a little work. Mostly I played with Adina because she is so cute and loveable! The snow stopped some time in the afternoon, changing to rain which melted the 3 or so inches that had accumulated. As the sun began to set, we decided it was time to winterize our living room windows with plastic wrap. We got it all finished around 5 pm when the rain turned back into snow. The wind was blowing pretty hard as well, so it wasn’t too shocking when the power went out. It was only out for 20 minutes so it wasn’t too bad.
The next morning we woke up to somewhere between 6-8 inches of snow and it was still coming down pretty hard. It was so beautiful to watch! We headed into our normal Friday morning routine, although things were a bit more relaxed since we had both dinner and lunch plans for Shabbat. I was pretty happy about that since I hadn’t made it to the grocery store all week since the weather was not conducive for walking home with bags of food. Around 11 am the electricity went out. We were optimistic that it would come back like it did the night before but after half an hour we realized that this was probably for good. We then went into survival mode as our dinner and lunch plans were cancelled. Adam had stopped at the small market on the way home to pick up a few essentials, so he already knew that they didn’t have challah. We had to come up with meals for Shabbat, and they had to be something we could make on the stove top since our oven is electric. Normally I hate my gas stove top but boy was I thankful for it at this moment!
Scanning our shelves, I was able to piece together a few meal options that would work with the minimal food that we had available. Adam remembered making bread over a fire back in his camp days, so he decided to make flat bread so we would have something in place of challah. He baked them on a cookie sheet on the stove top and while the cookie sheet got a little damaged, the bread came out really well! As we worked out our plans, the apartment continued to get colder and colder. It is always ridiculously cold in our apartment during the winter but the heaters do a good job keeping us comfortable. Without the heaters, by 2 pm we could see our breath inside the apartment. Adina was bundled in her snow suit and hat inside and seemed to be just as happy as ever.
Things were going pretty well even though we could feel it getting colder. Adam went back to the store to get a few candles to use for light. We have a battery torch light but we weren’t sure how long the battery would last since we hadn’t charged it recently. We were proud of ourselves for figuring everything out; we only had the food to make which wouldn’t take too long and we were planning to camp out in our bedroom with our duvets which usually keep us very warm at night without heaters. It was a fun adventure that we were getting through together! We felt like we could really do this!
Then our friend Sarah called to check in. They had electricity at their apartment and offered us their guestroom. Adam and I hesitated for a split second. We felt like we could really get through this with all the plans we had made. Yet, we have a 4 month old who needs to stay warm. While our plans would have gotten us through okay, the responsible thing was to take her somewhere warm. So, that is what we did. We packed up our clothes and food and made our way over to their apartment. Things were pretty snowy/slushy as we went. It started to snow again and the wind was blowing pretty hard. As we walked to their apartment, we knew we made the right decision.
Our friends went out for their Friday night meal, so Adam, Adina, and I were by ourselves for dinner. We were a bit disappointed that their apartment was still pretty cold. After all, if it was just as cold there, we could have stayed home. As we ate, the wind was howling, and our little heater that we brought only helped a bit. When our friends came home they realized that their bedroom window had flown open. Once they closed it the apartment was nice and warm! Yay!
Saturday was very relaxed. Adina and I stayed at our friend’s apartment while Adam went to synagogue. He said it wasn’t too bad out, but it was safer to keep her inside. We spent the morning singing songs, reading books, and napping. We had a nice lunch with our friends, and then we all rested for a while. Before we knew it, Shabbat was over. Adam went back to see if we had electricity, and we did! So we packed ourselves up and headed back to our place. A bit of time with the heater on and things were not quite so cold anymore!
Saturday night was ridiculously cold (-2°C) so our apartment was painfully cold. We typically use space heaters that blow hot air, but only while we are awake since it isn’t safe to use them at night. Adina had a lot of trouble sleeping (by 2 am I was at wits end!) even with all her layers and her fleece sleep sack. I think it was still too cold for her, so Sunday we reevaluated our arrangements. We love spending time in our living room, but the room is just too big for our heaters to keep it warm enough. So we decided to camp out in our bedroom. We moved Adina’s crib into our room (which we can do now that an old, non-working kerosene heater was removed from the apartment), and we brought in a heater that looks like a radiator. We used our usual heater to warm up the room, but we could use the radiator heater at night since it is safer. The room stayed nice and warm because we could keep the door closed rather than open so I can hear Adina in the next room. In fact, pretty much this whole week, we have been in our bedroom together, getting work done and playing. We have been much happier since we made this change!
The beginning of this week was very touch and go for the city. Without the proper equipment (snow shovels, plows, etc.) things were pretty much a mess. The only way to get the snow off the sidewalks is to let it melt. Because it was still pretty cold at night, the roads would freeze, making it hard to get things going again each morning. People have been frustrated by how the snow is crippling the city, but we think that the government has been doing a great job. The electricity was worked on round-the-clock and construction front-loaders were used as plows. The buses were running on a reduced schedule so that people could get around if they had to. The only frustrating thing is that we had a few appointments this week that got cancelled. Oh well! That’s life. I still was able to go to work, and today I finally got to the grocery store. It has been beautiful all week. Sunny and in the 50’s. Just what we need to help life get back to normal.
One way to say that there is a power outage in Hebrew is “החשמל נפל” which literally means that the electricity fell down. Normally that sounds funny, but considering the number of tree branches that came down on power lines it seems fitting for this storm. This is only the 6th time in recorded history that it has snowed in Israel in December. Some places in the city had almost 2 feet of snow!
Even with all the chaos, we are happy to be here to experience it! We still can’t believe Adina’s first snow storm was in Israel!
Until next time…