There is something surreally beautiful about snow in Jerusalem, pristine white embellishing our iconic, historic sites of golden stone. It is as if a luminous, metaphysical blanket of purity and peace is laid upon our city of spirituality and strife.
We olim from the Southern Hemisphere cannot get enough of the icy white powder. Before we came on aliyah, our association with swaths of white was stretches of sandy beaches, from Rio via Cape Town to Sydney and places in between, and like many, our first encounter with snow was in Mediterranean Israel. Our North American and European friends snicker at our frenzy at a few inches of furry frost, but hey, we appreciate as much as we can get.
My wife and I have been in Israel for 41 years now, yet still, each time the forecaster sends out the snow signal, I get out trusty hiking boots and gear and set up camera equipment in eager anticipation of traipsing around the silent city making photographs while the icy wind pounds my face.
As it happened, this time COVID beat Elpis to our front door and locked it shut. Like many, I was confined to four walls, thankfully without any symptoms. I packed away the gear and took the opportunity of looking out the window with an open mind and lens.
God’s Peace on Jerusalem
Snow is God’s peace on Jerusalem
Delivered in the softest shawl of purity
Heritage basking in transcendent tranquility
After and before ruddy tarnish
Stains its precincts
Deep winter is God’s peace on Jerusalem
When those who would pillage take shelter
Bide their time, languishing
Awaiting the spring
White is God’s peace on Jerusalem
When luminous silence descends from the heavens
Dripping slowly from its bent branches
Cleansing its quarters
Infusing its ramparts with eternal hope