December 19: Snow daze

I keep reading that it was unexpected. But everyone saw that it was going to snow on Thursday, Friday and Saturday all day! What was unexpected?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Snow daze
Sir, – With regard to “Lawmakers begin probe of way gov’t responded to snowstorm” (December 18), having lived in the US on the East Coast and in Buffalo, this storm was big, even by those standards. I also keep reading that it was unexpected. But everyone saw that it was going to snow on Thursday, Friday and Saturday all day! What was unexpected?
I appreciated the call I got from the Ginot Ha’ir community center in the German Colony and Talbiye, and the help from friends. It would have been nice to have a functioning call center to for updates on street conditions and electricity, maybe even in English. I volunteer to do the English!
However, every piece of equipment should have been ready. Basic scientific principals need to be put in place, like cart away the snow instead of putting it in front of parked cars! Also, putting salt on snow is a way to melt it, but it needed to be done repeatedly, not once! Please tell citizens to stop pouring hot water on ice or hosing it down. What is left is the most treacherous sheet of ice! Also, inform people what black ice is and how dangerous it is! Lastly, tell citizens that plastic bags over shoes are very slippery. A ruined pair of shoes is better than a hospital visit for a broken leg.
There is an expression: Common sense ain’t as common as it used to be!
The writer went five days without power
Sir, – With regard to Daniel K. Eisenbud’s “Jerusalemites express mix of anger and understanding over way municipality handled recovery from winter storm” (December 18), I will say what the mayor of Jerusalem will not say: “In order that the difficulties of the last couple of days not be repeated I will be proposing to the city council that the municipality immediately purchase 1,000 new snow plows and 1,000 new salt and sanding trucks; that we acquire or lease 50 dunam of land where we will store salt and sand; and that we hire 2,000 new operators for the above equipment.
“Of course, municipal taxes will go up significantly, maybe by 25%, but we will be prepared to meet the next big storm -- which might occur only in, perhaps, 50 years. If you don’t want the increase in taxes, then just be quiet and accept that we did a really good job, all things considered.
“We will, of course, be implementing a system of snow routes, which will require, upon 10-hours’ notice, that all private vehicles be removed. This will allow our new snow plows to clear these routes in an effective and timely manner. Vehicles not removed will be towed by the municipality and the owner fined NIS 5,000.
“I am sure you will appreciate the new measures we implement.”
If you want the services, pay the taxes. Moral of the story: Put up or shut up.
Sir, – It is not that the storm that hit Jerusalem took the authorities by surprise. In fact, I read days before that it was going to happen and in a serious way.
Having lived in Europe almost all my life, I am very familiar with the correct way to clear roads and sidewalks after a snow storm. In Europe, there is a law requiring every resident to spread salt on the sidewalk in front of his home.
This example should be followed here. Also, the authorities react immediately by taking appropriate care of the streets and roads. Here, most streets are not at all cleared, and sidewalks are a public danger.
I am wondering how many people ended up in the emergency room.
Basically speaking, the inhabitants of Jerusalem were left to fend for themselves. It is clear that the authorities did not do their homework and learn from the European experience.
Sir, – My husband and I are veterans of many hurricanes. We lived in Florida for many years before making aliya.
The hurricane season there is June to November. In June we would buy what we might need if a hurricane was due to hit. We bought non-perishable food, such as tuna, crackers, noshes for the kids, lots of water (because sometimes the pumping stations were down), 72 hour yahrzeit candles, flashlights with batteries, and any other staples not requiring refrigeration.
If the refrigerator is not opened and closed when there is no electricity, food is safe for 24 hours. After that, it needs to be checked for spoilage.
We kept our storm food in a special box. If we didn’t need it, we used the water for our plants and put the rest in our pantry.
It is also important to fill up the car with fuel before the storm because gas stations might not be able to pump gas, and the lines will be very long. We also parked our cars away from public spaces prevent damage.
We cannot put blame totally on the government. Personal preparedness is the first essential step. When we heard the forecast of snow, we immediately headed for the supermarket to make sure we were prepared for the rest of the week and, of course, for Shabbat.
Beit Shemesh
Sign of caring
Sir, – I read with great interest “Sign language and tragedy in South Africa” (Comment & Features, December 15).
In 1983, at the request of then-chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, I accepted a call to be chaplain to the Jewish Deaf Association in London. I studied British Sign Language and was thus able to communicate with deaf people, especially at funerals, shivas and stone-settings.
During my 15-year chaplaincy my motto was “integration and not segregation.” If, for example, my synagogue was arranging a lecture on travel, an interpreter was called in; deaf people in attendance would be able not only to enjoy the lecture, but to participate by asking questions through the interpreter.
I was privileged to be among those who were instrumental in getting the London rabbinical court to approve the use of the Audio Induction Loop system on Shabbat and festivals. The great benefit is that the system allows the sound to be transmitted to the hearing-impaired listener clearly and free of distracting noise. Although many synagogues and halls are now using this system in London, it does not appear to be in use here in Israel.
Those 15 years were some of my most rewarding in a long ministry, and although now retired for 13 years, I still keep in touch with these wonderful deaf Jewish people.
The writer is emeritus minister of Woodside Park Synagogue in London. He was chaplain to the Jewish Deaf Association in London from 1985 to 2000.
Thanks, Melabev
Sir, – Now that the secular year is about to end, I feel that a public thank you is due the organization, sponsors and devoted staff at Melabev, the organization that assists the elderly in the community.
I have been attending the wonderful club in Talpiot for over a year. When arriving each morning, I am greeted by cheerful, smiling workers who also serve us coffee and cake.
The day is filled with interesting activities, thoughtful word games, stimulating discussions and lectures, and much-needed exercises. In addition, it provides a comfortable van to bring members to and from club. Before leaving in the afternoon, the members are served a full, delicious lunch.
For all of this wonderful work, Melabev deserves a loud yasher koach and public thank you.