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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Israel At Heart A Jewish Country, Blizzard Report

When you get down to it, Israel is still a Jewish country with Jewish values, whether the Israelis abide by the more obvious mitzvot, like modest clothing, Shabbat and kashrut or not.

At Jerusalem Light Rail stop, sign says:
Careful please, slippery conditions!
In three languages, Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Tuesday night, when I was waiting for the Jerusalem light rail and saw the sign warning us to be careful because of "slippery conditions," it was a reminder that I'm in Israel, the HolyLand the only Jewish country in the world.

Israelis, like any good family, are always at their best during emergencies.

  • Did you know that there's a special "shiva" payment, a week's salary for those who miss work to sit shiva, mourn for a parent?  Bli nederI'll check with our Rami Levy Human Resources branch head to find out if it's for any halachik (Jewish Law) shiva period.
  • When I was sitting shiva for my mother a few months ago, my fellow workers showed up with shopping bags full of food and disposables from Rami Levy (Yafiz, Clothing for the Whole Family, is part of the Rami Levy Discount Supermarket)  for my מנחם אבל menachem avel shiva comforters.
  • When the electricity went off during the blizzard in Shiloh, the community went to great efforts to distribute non-electric heaters and fuel and food to the elderly and those with young children.  People with warm homes welcomed neighbors.
  • Within a couple of days of the resulting electric outage, simultaneously to working on the repairs, the Electric Company helicoptered generators to provide temporary electricity to all of those without electricity. This took time, money and manpower. Ironically, by the time they had finished or almost finished hooking up all of the streets and neighborhoods here in the Shiloh bloc of Jewish communities, the new high tension towers were up and functioning.
  • Now that life is getting "back to normal" in Shiloh, our community email "forum" is full of thank you's. They include the grocery manager who kept the store running, food safe etc. He had to drive on very dangerous icy roads to get to work.
  • Many of us received invitations to stay at friends and family all over.
  • There were those who risked driving perilous snowy and icy roads to bring other to safer and warmer conditions.
  • Some car owners allowed neighbors to charge their phones using the car motor/battery.
  • Personally I'd like to thank my Shabbat guest for not complaining about the cold food I served on Shabbat.
Neighbors helping another dig out a car and getting it on its way
Please add your own snow chessed kindness story in the comments, thanks.


Shy Guy said...

Can I mention my snow-lack-of-kindness story?

Every stupid Israeli (including American and Canadian olim) who drove their regular vehicles after more than 1 centimeter accumulated on the ground and then got stuck, blocking roads, should be fined at least 3000 shekels each.

Frankly, I felt like shooting them on site. At least that way, we would be better off by the time the next big snow comes around.

Hadassa said...

I must add to Shy Guy's comment that many drivers set out AFTER they were warned NOT TO DRIVE and then kvetched about how long they were stuck on the road. They should have been grateful for all the people who went out into the snow and freezing weather to rescue them.
Also medical personnel stayed in hospitals for days on end, working extremely long shifts to fill in for co-workers who were snowed in.
Israel receives a heavy snow only once every 50 years and hasn't seen such a heavy snow in 100 years. People should keep that in mind.

Shy Guy said...

Hadassa, there was an equivalent amount of snow here in the early 90s. The difference was that it didn't remain on the ground after the storm as much time as last week's snow has.

Batya said...

Hadassa, very true about medical personnel. A neighbor just couldn't get out, and it was obvious that others had to make up the shifts of those in her situation.

Shy, I was hoping for more uplifting sotries instead of the obvious "I know better" people who got caught and then inconvenienced others.