JERUSALEM (Jan. 17)
To the world at large, the idea of this Holy City being covered in a white pall of snow, the bleached domes and spires and steeples and minarets of a tri-religious center standing out picturesquely from the surrounding Judean hills, seems wholely incongruous because palestine is in the sub-tropies. “Snow in Jerusalem” sounds as inappropriate and as unbelievable as “Tobogganing in Timbuktu” or “Sleighing in South Sea Islands” or “Monsoons in Minneapolis.”
But from the look of it, the texture, the feel of it, the Arctic atmosphere it produces, the rabid slushy thaw, and the comments of those proudly ransacking their memories for reminiscences of Bigger and Better Snowfalls in Russland of pre-war days-what have the Sovies done to the snows of yesteryear?-and in Merrie England, it really is northern snow, I hope to tell you!
The best “crack” that this year’s tree-hour snowfall has produced so far is the remark made by the young Jewish lad, studying English literature, who after a long look at the embattlements and buildings of the walled Old City of Jerusalem emerging from their unwonted cloak, said brightly, “I know now what they mean by a ‘whitened sepulchre.’ “
The people who seemed most bitter with the elements were the Arab demonstrators, who wavered between calling off their performance and braving the slippery, slushy cobble-stones of the Old City. The Palesitnian police, on the other hand, looked forward to snowballing refractory demonstrators instead of unsing tear gas, a stock of which had been laid in from England in anticipation of trouble and instead of more dangerous bullets. But their ebullient spirits were chained by the sober politicians in the fornce.
Jewish urchins and Arab ragamuffins had their first real outdoor occasion since 1927, the date of the last heavy snowfall Internecine crinter-racial combat raged merrily up and down the streets for hours, and shrewd victories were won or crushing defeats suffered, whichever side had the most snowpiles at its command and sufficient elbow-strength to wield. As “Isual, some over-enterprising youths got stones mixed up in their white globes, and they will probably face a law court for it.
SNOW IN THE ORIENT
What struck visitors to Jerusalem as the most exciting part of the event was the juxtapasition of typical and familiar Oriental sights against the uncanny whiteness, “covering a multitude of tins,” one wag said in reference to But el Tenek, or Shanty-Town, wost Jerusalem, where the huts are roofed with corrugated iron or plan oil cans. The stately camels disdainfully picking their way along the slipery roads, wondering at this new creation of unfathomable man and determined majestically to ignore it, followed by bewildered Bedouins in from the desert unclothed to meet the coled spell; the ornamental palmtrees in Jerusalem gardens, and the pines and cypress, burdened with glistening icicles and particles of white, brushing off to a shower at the slightest movement; the mantle of snow over the Temple Arae, at the southeast cerner of the Old City as viewed from that ideal coign of vantage, the rooftop of the Jewish National and University Library on Mount Scopus; and that other incomparable panorama from the University of Mount Scopus, the Magnificent contrast between the mist-covered, white-shroudede Jerusalem and Judean hills and the clear-cut, gaunt, brown and stark outline of the Wilderness of Benjamin, the jericho foothills, and the massive Moab range on the horizon.
What a land! What a land!
People commuted from Tel Aviv to see the wonder with their own eyes, suspecting the local Hebrew press of mirthful exaggeration. And many of them took the next bus or train back, because it was too cold, for their experience of temperate climate. Ladies brought out foxes and furs and muffs and bear-hates, and one dainty creation appeared all in white as te snowlady. Local modistes flung their heart and soul into new window decorations, particularly the enterprising newcomers from Hetlerland. Many German Jews, newly arrived here, went about chuckling and briskly rubbing their hands and stamping their feet-this, at least, was a reminder of their former country which they did not mind having accentuated.
But the honors of the day must go to the youngsters of Eretz-Israel, our homegrown future generation, particularly those from outside Jerusalem and from the colocies who made an excursion up to our altitude of 2,700 feet above sea-level to see the marvel they had so ofter read about. Those sturdy kids of six and seven whose memory of previous snowfall was dim enjoyed it mostly, glad that the Clerk of the Weather should have given them the boon of this precious experience in Polar climaties.
Altogether a satisfying climatic event. For, from a practical view-piont, snow is just as good as rain up in these arid hills, and its thaw fills the reservoirs and cisterns just as surely as if it had come down wet in the first palce instead of white and flaky. All being well, Jerusalem ought to have a half of its water supply for normal summer requirements ensured within the month, and people walk about with pleased expressions on their faces at the thought that there will be more baths during the hot season later on than there were last year. Life under recent weather conditions in Jerusalem is just a giddy, gay lottery.
We have hitherto envied Syria its snowceapped Moungt Hermon and the Lebanese mountains annually covered in white. There is a “Lebenese Snow” (Sheleg Levanon) cage in Tel Aviv, and Eskimo iced chocolate-bares, and delicactes in ice-cream known as “hoky-poky” in England, and other refreshing dainties in the summer that all owe their nomenclatural and structural origin to the snows of lebanon. It is time that Jerusalem stood out for its own nonoralbe mention in this typical summer industry. Perhaps some of the ingenious German Jewish immgrants, alert to the capture of public taste in their manufacturing novelties, will seize this priceless opportunity.