Sounds of Spring

An unusually warm February brought an early spring to Jerusalem.

The birds have returned; their loud chirping  before dawn makes for a very early wake up call.

The frisbee players were out in shorts, having a great time playing in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 There were quiet sounds like a bike ride                                                    or stroll in the park.

 

But one of the major sounds announcing spring 

 is the sound of the sneezing and coughing from colds and seasonal allergies that is heard on crowded buses.

 

 As everything turns green,

 

  the flowers

  

  grasses and weeds

and especially the tall, thin cypress trees, all fill the air with pollen.

There were some stormy-looking skies earlier this week,

 finally today we had a few small rain showers and tonight it is raining hard.

The forecast is a for few days of rain…just the sounds we want and need to hear.

Purim Problems

In Jerusalem, government leaders spoke at the Jerusalem Conference,  

to Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

and to the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency.

Major issues were discussed by the hundreds from around the world.

However, the real Jerusalem streets were more concerned about 

getting ready for the holiday of Purim, and

          choosing a costume was the first big problem.

There are very cute little costumes

   and extremely large ones.

 

With all the variety, if you still cannot find what you want,

fabric stores put out their most colorful wares.

 

Many take the easy way out and just get a hat;

  the variety seems endless.

 

Stores try to cash in on the season with colorful displays of anything that could be used with costumes.

The next problem is what to do for Mishloah Manot,

the traditional gift baskets given out on Purim.

Do you select a basket and make your own mishloach manot

or buy prepared gift baskets?

         Candy is the next problem: too many choices.    

Even Hamentashen pastries require making choices; 

which filling to pick…dates, poppy seed, nuts, caramel, etc…

 

 Which leads to the next problem, if you eat all this, 

how will you still fit into your costume?               

 

This year Purim in Jerusalem begins Sunday night

and continues on Monday, March 1, 2010.

City of Lions

Look up, Jerusalem, Israel’s new signs

 promoting culture, sport, youth and education feature lions.

lion

Look down, lions can be found on the ground by the side of the road,

or high above the street,

 They can be large, standing guard alone,

or small and blue in pairs,

strong and metal ones,

       multicolored and ornate or simply gold paint.

    Usually lions are found outside, even high above the gate,

lioin

but the holiday of Purim is coming soon,

and lions will be everywhere.

The costumes are out and ready,even in size extra-large.

The Hebrew month of Adar has begun,

Purim is coming!

Progress…Jaffa Gate

Hard to believe the weather,

with summer-like temperatures

people are out even at night

in short sleeves and shorts.

One of the most popular and

busiest sites in Jerusalem

is the area around Jaffa Gate.

In case you have not been by lately,

here are a few photos of the progress

on the infrastructure work.

 

 Outside the walls, August 2009. 

 

 

        October and November 2009.

 

January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 

                                                February

People still come from all over the world, but

work in progess is not the same experience.

More White Stuff

The Eastern United States has had record amounts of snow,

more white stuff than they know what to do with;

in Jerusalem, Israel we have some new white stuff too  – flowers.

With high temperatures, it feels like summer.

 So for those in the snow, which after the first day is turning grey,

here is a little color from Jerusalem; orange,

purple,

 

green and yellow,

  and blue.

 

All things considered, we would so much rather be here. 

Water, Water

 

After droughts and continuous dry weather since 2005, there is a serious water crisis in Israel.

The Water Authority was created in 2007 to efficiently manage issues of water under one roof.  In the beginning of December employees went on strike to protest their increased work load caused by restructuring. We missed the daily reports on the water level of the Kinneret, as there were no measurements taken during their two month strike. Now they have finally gone back to work. 

 

A Canadian delegation from the Province of Manitoba was in Jerusalem in January to collaborate with Israel on issues of water conservation and water reuse.

 Despite several heavy rainfalls, the Jerusalem area has less than its annual average rainfall to date.  We need water.  Last week instead off the predicted snow, Jerusalem got rain, and this week that is still what everyone is talking about: oh, did it rain and rain. While everyone wants it to rain, no one wants to have to go out when it does rain.

One wet season is not enough. Mekorot, the national water company, has tried to catch the run-off from flooding after the heavy rains. Rainwater collection reservoirs were filled in January. Israel is one the world’s leading consumers of recycled water, but we could do better.

After it rains, puddles of water can be found, up on the roof tops and down on the ground.

 

February 7, 2010

These workers hosing down a driveway on King George Street sent too much excess water onto the road.

  February 7, 2010

Meah Shearim Street was wet from water running down from the Geulah neighborhood.

February 8, 2010

Emek Refaim Street was wet; puddles from wasted water were obvious on a dry day.

 

 New water pipes should not leak,

 but what a mess while the work

 is in progress.

Under the new development plans for the Rechavia neighborhood, no new private or public swimming pools will be allowed.

Desalination of water and rainwater harvesting for use in washing machines, toilets and gardens are all important steps that are being developed.

One factor in recent lowering of water consumption could be the massive price increases.

There are many important issues involving water and its conservation. Thanks to those with imagination, drip irrigation and perhaps a “green thumb” who bring beautiful color to the Jerusalem streets.

Not Quite a Blizzard

News broadcasts most of the week were predicting snow in Jerusalem.  

Salt trucks were ready, extra milk was in the house,

children had planned their day off from school,

the temperature dropped,

it rained most of the night and then this morning…

there was some hail

and for a few minutes it looked like it might be snowing…

but the skies cleared again. 

It is cold, and every few minutes the weather changes,

but so far no blizzard and no new snow photos.