These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[Alumni Guest Post] Daniel Shibley: Splish Splash!

Posted on January 8, 2013 by The Director of Digital Media

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From Daniel Shibley's (Fellows '12) blog:

For all of its technological innovations Israel has yet to see, en masse, the value of weather stripping or double pane windows, the lack of which causes an incessant rattle of windows and drafts of unknown origin. Such alterations in construction could save drastically on energy bills, which obviously is a major benefit to the wallet, and an even bigger benefit to the environment.

Powerful sustained winds have battered most of Israel for the past 36 hours, with more wind and rain expected to arrive over the coming days. The strong gusts have also brought along significantly colder weather, and even the ‘S’ word. That’s right, snow! Plastic chairs have been tossed about like toys, tree limbs violently separated from their trunks, some of which have unfortunately landed on businesses and automobiles, fortunately the injuries were minimal. Often lowering the trisim (shields) on residential windows can serve as a barrier for the biting winds, but even they were hopeless to stop the massive rush of air. Awesome is the power of the wind, painful is the hail driven into the forehead as the result of the gusts.

This morning I was fortunate enough to have been soaked three times before breakfast. That said, rain in Israel is a truly a blessing, although flash flooding can be extremely dangerous especially in areas which are unaccustomed to large amounts of rainfall. Nonetheless, very few people are complaining about the falling droplets, even if it does result in the soaking and re-soaking of any area not protected by a waterproof exterior layer of clothing. When there are leaks however, causing it to rain inside, the tolerance is significantly decreased as each drop hitting the collection bucket lands with a taunting ‘drrrip.’   Inconvenient? Yes. Am I complaining? Not really.

Massive puddles, which might at this point qualify as small lakes, are accumulating around storm drains blocked with leaves or mud. Every puddle beckons children and yeshiva students alike to hop in for a splash, it dares you to investigate the depth of the water as if to say, “How good are your boots?”. Many in yeshiva are fortunate to be equipped with waterproof or water resistant boots, neither of which are effective if the puddle rises above the ankles, causing and instant immersion of the foot in cold water, eliciting a groan and perhaps a choice word.

From the roof of Yeshivat Har Etzion, the buildings of Jerusalem, 20 KM away, are visible on a clear day. Although I cannot speak for other areas, the fog in Gush Etzion is nothing short of spectacular. To have the view in the direction of Jerusalem reduced from the 20 KM to a mere 20 meters, obscuring even the neighboring settlements and Arab villages, is nothing short of eerie.

It seems appropriate to teach the following word: שלולית   “Shluleet”   Puddle