blizzard, schools closed, sledding, snow, snowfall

Snow Adventures: Israeli Style

Israelis are a very creative lot. When a snow storm hits, they don’t just go and pull out their waterproof LLBean pants and their LandsEnd snow shoes. They don’t have those wardrobe pieces because they don’t assume they will ever need them. After all, we do live on the edge of a desert in the Middle East.
But, when over two feet of snow pummel the mountain that we call home, we still have to make our way to minyan (prayer services) and out to check out the snow…and even to sled a bit. So, what do we do? Aside from loving the chance to take a break from normal life, watch my kids frolic in the snow, and relax a bit, I love when these storms hit for the chance to see my neighbors and their ingenuity. Here are a few of the gems we’ve seen over the past five days while we’ve watched two feet of snow hit our area.
The Plastic Bags: Most people don’t own snow boots or appropriate footwear around here for this weather. So, they use grocery store bags and wrap their feet in these over their tennis shoes or other footwear. And then when the bags fall off or tear, they just pull out another bag and wrap it around their foot again. Does it work? Well, kind of, I guess…but not really. But it makes them feel like they are doing something.
The Tablecloth Sledding: Yesterday, as we joined the throngs of kids sledding down the mountain, we noticed some very creative sleds. Few people own sleds here, so they grab whatever they can find to help them down the mountain. Matan’s good friend showed up with a thick plastic tablecloth, and proceeded to gather his friends together for a sledding run. See video below. One kid snatched an oven tray from the house and was sledding down with it. Another kid had a “For Sale” sign that he must have snatched from a house, and went flying down the mountain on this bright yellow sign, advertising the home sale.

Here is Yakir, modeling the For Sale Sign people sled on

The Oven Mitts: I saved this one for last, as it’s truly the best. Yesterday, when Josh showed up to shul at 8 in the morning, our neighbor arrived…wearing oven mitts. He had on one white oven mitt and one that looked like something that one of his girls would have used as a puppet. It was decorated like Raggedy Ann, with the hair, the face and all. Yep, he was using the mitts as gloves, and found it perfectly normal that he would show up to shul this way. Josh caught his eye, assuming that he would make a joke or crack a smile about his attire. But no, he was just staying warm. Josh wanted to take a picture, but he refrained. On the way out of shul, they saw someone zipping the hood of his…wait for it, scuba diving suit!
And this, of course, is only the beginning.
The kids have also enjoyed some creative play. Matan has been building an igloo of sorts in his friend’s backyard (who said that homeschooling doesn’t have its advantages) 
and Yakir (age only 3) has figured out how to scale a mountain and slide down it completely unaided.

The poor dryer has been working overtime, trying to dry the kids’ clothes in between snow runs. And the kids have played every game we own in the house. The kids have been making creative food – pouring juice into ice to make snow cones, making sushi for breakfast and enjoying hot chocolate and pancakes.
Fortunately, we maintained our electricity most of the time and became experts at huddling under blankets when the heat (which didn’t really work too well anyway) went off. Fun was had by all, and it was a glorious opportunity to get away from the rat race of life and to just enjoy for a bit. And no snow storm would be complete without the conversation predicting when the next one will be.Yep, they are already discussing it and planning what they will do better next time.

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