Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snow comes again to the Holy City

Snow comes again to the Holy City

Snowy Jerusalem streets were...


With all the 'combinations' of precipitation and lower temperatures coming into form, "Jerusalem the Golden" became all white as the winter season's first snow storm blanked the city with 2 to 3 inches of snow. The snowfall is always a welcome diversion to the city's children, though more a nuisance to their parents since the municipality announced that schools in the Holy City will be closed on Wednesday due to the Frosty the Snowman's visit. The snowy weather also reached some higher elevations in the Galilee and really hit the northern Golan Heights, especially the ski site at Mt. Hermon, which had been unused for that purpose so far this year. With a little more snow in next few days, the site will probably be at least partially open to both skiers and people who just want to bring their kids to frolic in the "sheleg" the Hebrew word for snow.


The moisture for both the snow and the rains that have reached Israel is welcome relief to the country's chronic water problems, and anyone who has visit the Kineret lately must have noticed that the lake level is a bit low – even to the point where fishing boats are sitting in the mud instead of floating in their mooring berths. The lake should receive enough water from both the melting snows on Mr. Hermon and from feeder streams (including the Jordan) to raise the water level at least half a meter. Even so, the lake level will still be about 2 meters below the accepted level to not cause any water shortage problems during the long dry season of April through October.

Not much rain has reached Israel so far this year, and what has arrived previously is far below what the country should have received by late January. Israel's "rainy season" if one were to call it that, is only from December to March, although some rain does fall occasionally in October and November; and even some freak rain storms come as late as mid May.

But getting back to Jerusalem, a winter snowfall adds a special beauty and charm to an already beautiful and charming city. Seeing pictures of a snowy blanket on the Old City and the Mt. of Olives is especially enchanting, and despite any temporary inconveniences, I'm sure the citizens of Jerusalem will agree. It is written in Jewish daily prayer, referring to God's divine assistance to the Land of Israel: "Thou causest the winds to blow and the rains to fall".

Israeli Hip Hopper goes big time

What is a nice Jewish Israeli girl doing with a bunch of L.A. rappers and hip hop artists? Why she's making a lot of money with them – that's what! Miri Ben Ari began playing the violin when she was a young girl, and more recently switched from classical music to more interesting melodies like gospel, rhythm and blues and jazz after going to America following advice from local entertainment personalities who said that her music style was something that would have more possibilities in the USA.

But what has really given her career a boost is her connection the black American music community, especially the one performing the new hi hop style of music. In fact, her career has done so well that she recently won a Grammy award for her music and has put out a best selling CD entitled The Hip Hop Violinist. "I was introduced to this kind of music by the pop star Wyclif Jean, and also received a lot of assistance from another well known artist Jay Z, who introduced me to the black community".

She won her Grammy award for her performance with the rapper and record producer Kayne West.

Miri is very enthusiastic about her association with the black music community as she is able to relate to them very well, despite being from Israel. "Many blacks are evangelistic Christians who are very pro Israel" she says. Despite the fact that Miri lives most of the time now in the USA, she is very proud to tell people that she is Israeli; and she has recently been involved in performing special music to commemorate the Holocaust. Some of her music, used in the recent Hollywood movie The Freedom Riders, was honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem. Mir recently visited Israel and made several guest appearances, including one on the morning Channel 10 talk show. She is very proud that her music is connected with helping to create more awareness about the Holocaust.

Her music will be featured in special events connected with Israel's upcoming 60th anniversary celebrations and she is now working on a new music album as well as providing background music for a "come back" album by pop music icon Donna Summers. She has also performed in campaign promotions for Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"As a woman, I would love to see a woman president, although Barack Obama is also very capable" she said. - Headlines