Snow Turns Jerusalem Upside Down

Snowman upside down“Excuse me, sir! Can you join the picture?”

My husband was walking down Rechov Yechezkel, bundled up against the snow, when he was asked by a photographer to join a couple of other students for a picture to be featured in some Polish newspaper the next day. The big story? Snow in Jerusalem!

Coming from Detroit, the six inches of snow on the ground meant nothing to my husband, but in Jerusalem in the winter of ’08, this snowstorm was front-page news. The whole city was shut down due to the falling snowflakes, and very few ventured outdoors until the snow stopped descending. Buses were not running and stores were closed, as the city struggled to deal with this unusual weather.

It’s now 5 years later, and not much has changed when it comes to snowstorms in Jerusalem. Snow is still regarded as a novelty, which is met without proper preparation. And this year’s snowstorm was one unlike any the city had seen since 1953. With more than a meter of snowfall (that’s over 3 feet!), as well as freezing rain turning the roads slippery and icy, all stores were closed, and public transportation came to a halt. Many residents of Jerusalem found themselves without power, and had to bundle up against the cold, even within their own houses.

But enough about the harshness of this cold precipitation! Here’s what’s good about snow falling in Jerusalem:

  1. IT MAKES FOR ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS PHOTOS! There’s nothing quite like a picture of the Kotel Plaza covered in snow. The stones and the white fluffy stuff just seem to blend together – a photographers dream. Click here to see our photo gallery of snow-covered Jerusalem.
  2. motorcycle

  3. For the children (and “grown-up children”) of Jerusalem, this is probably number 1 – snowmen and snowball fights! Growing up in NY, snow is a fact of life for me throughout the winter, and yet, I still find it thrilling when I get to ‘play in the snow’. For kids in the Holy Land, this is not even a yearly occurrence, so the opportunity to form those white balls of snow is even more exhilarating! COOL FACT: When there’s enough of a snowfall (like this year), an 18 wheeler truck is filled up with snow, and driven to Bnei Brak, so the kids there (where it never snows) can also have some wintery fun.
  4. Even though the cars may slip and slide, if you’ve got good boots and a sturdy coat and hat, you can still get to a lot of places on foot. Many Jerusalemites walk to further destinations than the average American might. In Israel, a 45 minute walk is considered “just around the corner”. What does it matter if there’s snow on the ground, if you weren’t going to take a car anyway?
  5. rechov bar ilan

  6. Israel has the “coolest” way of getting rid of snow. In the US, we are accustomed to the snow plow – basically a glorified garbage truck. In Israel, a plow is attached to an army tank. It’s every child’s exciting dream: to watch IDF soldiers rolling down the street, clearing snow, in a souped-up snow plow. Tanks, like fire-trucks, have a magnetic pull on children. And watching the “snow tanks” keeps them busy and out of Mom’s (Ima in Hebrew) hair while school is out. As long as there’s no crisis at the front, the IDF is happy to lend a hand.
  7. If you’ve had any interesting experiences in Jerusalem snow – this year or any year – please fill us in with a comment below! And, remember… whether in sleet or snow or hail (but preferably in sunshine with nary a cloud in sight), GoInspire Travel gets you there!

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    2 Comments on Snow Turns Jerusalem Upside Down

    1. Great post!

    2. Ettie Bersson says:

      Can’t wait to experience it!!

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