the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Raindrops are falling on my head

It rained today!

That may not sound like headline news to you, but hey, this is the country where every centimeter that the Kinneret goes up is duly reported and where the lake is cheered on like the underdog in a football game valiantly fighting its opponent, the Red Line.

A few weeks ago, the Israeli precipitation equivalent of an Indian summer came to the north of the country and radio announcers – while, of course, reporting the important event – were quick to explain that although there were drops technically falling from the sky, it wasn’t actually the First Rain.

This time around, the meteorologist informed Israel Radio on Friday that the rain expected Sunday (hey, he even turned out to be right!) was “the true yoreh,” the Hebrew name for the early rain.

And it came at just the right time – the day after Jews around the world recited the annual prayer for rain on the holiday of Shmini Atzeret. For those whose climate does not correspond to Israel’s, the whole concept of praying for rain at this time is perpetually decontextualized, but it starts to resonate a lot more when you can see, hear and feel the raindrops falling on your head.

What’s more, the meteorologist even went as far out on a limb as to predict a “feeling of autumn.”

That is a bit of a radical statement for this country, as those who grew up thinking that the year is divided into four distinct seasons (we even have backup in the form of that annoying song) may find themselves facing some serious cognitive dissonance issues after spending time in Israel. That’s because summer here usually lasts into October, with the possibility of a few slightly cooler days sprinkled in (at least in Jerusalem – hot and humid Tel Aviv is another story entirely), only to be followed by a heat wave to remind you that this country doesn’t know from autumn. Oh, and if you want to see leaves falling, you’d best pluck them off the tree yourself.

In Israel, rain heralds wintertime (forget all that stuff about April showers), so summer pretty much collides with winter, meaning that in the next few weeks people will be about equally likely to be strapping on their sandals as they are to be clomping around in their boots.

All in all, what I guess it comes down to is that moderation just doesn’t seem to flourish in the Israeli climate.

Crossposted to Israelity.


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