by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
A reader wrote, “I didn’t know it snows in Jerusalem?”.
Jerusalem is a mountain city. Originally, the ancient city (Ir David) was a mountaintop closely connected to another mountaintop – which comprised the Holy Temple (Har HaBayit).
Over the past 140 years, and particularly with Israel’s growth and sovereignty, and the re-unification of the city, Jerusalem has grown to include each surrounding mountaintop…
- The Old City and Har HaBayit
- Meah Shearim extending to Geulah and beyond
- “French Hill” (there’s a hint it’s another hilltop)
- Ramot (“the Heights”, another hint)
- Ramat Shlomo (“Shlomo’s Heights”)
- Har Nof (“Mountain View”)
- Har Choma (“The Mountain of the Wall” – cliff edge)
…to name a few. This does lead to curving roads rather than the straight lines of many modern cities, but also allows the city to easily segment into local communities of various types.
Jerusalem is approximately 2,500 feet (or 760 meters) in elevation, making it a 1/2 mile high city. During the spring, fall and early summer it tends to have cool evening temperatures and low humidity. It’s usually 5-10 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than Tel Aviv and the Israeli coastal plain during the day, and can can be as much as 15 degrees cooler at night. (Exceptions are late summer and heat waves containing hot desert winds blowing across the whole country.)
Israel as a whole is a nation of seasonal rains, winter only. This means it literally never rains except in winter (almost never). Average winter temperatures range from the low 60’s to 30 or so. The coastal plane usually stays in the 60’s – 50’s, and the mountain areas may run from the 50’s – 40’s.
WHEN the seasonal rains join up with a cold front, the temperatures may fall into the low 30’s and… snow. Jerusalem seems to get a touch or dusting of snow every 3-4 years, and a serious snow storm (serious means 5 inches of snow) every 10 years or so. Northern areas with higher mountains, such as Meron and Safed (Tzfat) will see light snow a few times every winter.
Israel’s only location with serious snowfall is Mt. Hermon, the most northern location in the country at the tip of the Golan Heights.
For those places where snow falls, it rarely lasts more than a day or two. This year’s snowfall being a “major” one, the snow has lasted 3 days and might make it to 4 or 5 on the top of roofs and under trees.
Temperatures are back up today and predicted to return to a normal winter range of 50’s – 60’s through the week. Given Israeli homes limited heating abilities… THANK G-D.