In the capital, residents eagerly await a winter wonderland

With storm fast approaching, anticipation builds.

Snow in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Snow in Jerusalem
As an Arctic chill descended upon Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon amid reports of an imminent Wednesday snow storm that is expected to blanket the capital, residents largely eschewed the cynicism that defined the past winter’s catastrophic blizzard Alexa, instead expressing child-like excitement.
Indeed, while many in downtown’s Zion Square said they were stocking up on food supplies and winter boots, almost all said the novelty of the snow engendered less caution and bad memories than wonderment.
Tour guide Andre Ceresnjes said he viewed the possible storm as a holiday.
“I prepared by getting the necessary food, thermal underwear and alcohol to celebrate,” he said with a smile.
“It’s a holiday not only for myself, but for all the people who live in Jerusalem because when the snow falls politics and conflict stops and the sensation of inner childhood overtakes us. It’s a return to innocence for Arabs and Jews.”
Asked if he was concerned following the municipality’s lackluster response after the previous storm’s protracted debacle, Ceresnjes said he views heavy snowfall as a respite from a normally tense city.
“I like it when the city shuts down, because it suspends reality,” he said. “So, for those few precious hours or days it becomes a fantasy; like a spectacle. If you look at people on the streets they are all smiling and happy.”
Rachel Kehat, a student in her 20’s, said the snow brings out the best in people.
“I liked it very much last year, because everyone wanted to help each other,” she said. “I bought boots for the snow, and a lot of food, but that’s it.”
Jack Silver, a jewelry maker formerly of Chicago, echoed Kehat’s sentiments, saying that snow in Jerusalem brings out altruism in many residents, including himself.
“I’m not worried, and am actually excited for it because when it snows everyone helps each other and me and my friends go out to look for people to help.
“The city might shut down, but the 24-hour stores usually stay open. And if someone needs a place to stay, they can stay with me.”
However, Inbar Aviezer struck a more cautionary tone, as she recounted Alexa’s considerable damage to the city.
“I’m not excited,” she said. “I think people are really traumatized about last year, because there was no electricity, people were trapped and couldn’t get outside the city. I got more food and a good new coat for this one, but that’s all.”
Still, Aviezer conceded that she believes the municipality is far better organized this time around.
“I think they’re much more prepared this year – they’re using Facebook all day to tell people how to prepare and what to do about transportation [disruptions].
So, I feel good that it won’t be as bad as last year.”
Meanwhile, Itamar Eliraz and his girlfriend Yael Abadi said they were on their way to purchase boots.
“I’m very excited, because I like the snow,” said Eliraz.
“All our friends go outside and play in the snow,” added Abadi. “It’s very fun and it only happens once a year, so it’s unusual.”