Illustration: Peanut Butter Sandwich by Matias Garabedian[CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr
Headlines are ringing: Winter Is Coming!
But, first I must digress and explain how is it that I ended up with the responsibility to bring winter weather to Israel, i.e., to bring the rain at the right time and place. At the end of the shemoneh esreh (the eighteen blessing prayer at the center of the Jewish service), there is a place for personal prayers. At that time, I respectfully pointed out that folks have been complaining to me for years about the weather, which isn't at all fair because I don't have much to do with it at all (at least not more than anyone else).
This year, it was especially bad because here it stayed warm for far too long, while other places were having normal or even colder weather than usual (in fact, a good part of the U.S. was being blanketed in heavy snow, and even hurricane force winds). It was then that the fog lifted, my "prayers" hit home and I was given responsibility for this winter’s weather.
As I wrote, winter is coming and the last evening of November will see the warmest temperatures for quite some time. In fact, I was able to arrange for a steady decline in temperatures from the start of December on Sunday until the end of next week, and possibly into the following week; there is only so much cold air to go around, and I have to pay for it. Moreover, the end of next week and the following week could see persistent showers. I say "could see" because I'm not very good at multitasking and I have to first get the cold down before going on to bring the rain.
All this will be made possible by a shifting of the upper air pattern over Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. After a small ridge of warm air builds over our area, the pattern will split with one area of cold air moving southward along the western coast of Europe and another will drop down into our area. In between, an amplified ridge will build into central Europe.
This is a bit unusual, as relatively warm weather will remain at the time over Greenland, which usually ends up pushing the trough of cold air over western or central Europe, leaving us on the warmer side of the weather, where we've been for the last month. Fortunately, the warm air over Greenland should dissipate as we move towards the middle of the month, which should allow colder air to flow across Europe. This should open the door for cold air to slide southward into the eastern Mediterranean. It's a lot on my plate, but if all goes well — winter will be here.
By the way, the system arriving at the end of next week could be downright chilly, not just wet, but the kind of chill that makes you want to button up and possibly put on a hat. That's winter in Israel.
That's the winter my wife remembers when she was a child, but it came in October.
I am not sure if my wife really knew what she was signing up for when she agreed to marry me. People calling at all hours of the night to find out if they'll be able to get out in the morning, after a night of ice and snow. I can't tell you how many times we've had to wake up for just such phone calls.
She should have been prepared, but it wasn't one of the questions she thought to ask about when we met: "Do people call you at night?" Instead, we spoke about some of our goals, some of our likes and dislikes, and technical things: would we be okay with internet or TV in the house, and would I make a mess in the kitchen — important subjects for sure.
Orthodox Jewish couples try to ask these types of questions because — as anyone who has ever watched the wonderful program “Shtisel" — knows that there are at least two words in the Jewish language for marriage: there is a word to get married and then there is a word to be married, i.e., to live together. For those who don't know, living together is an important part of marriage and having common values is a really important part of making a marriage work.
I thought that I had covered all the bases, and overall I think I made the right choice to marry my wife. Hence, you can imagine my surprise, which was followed by shock and consternation when I saw her prepare a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich for my son's breakfast.
She — I almost feel like this is not something that should be in a blog — she put the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the chocolate on the other. That is not a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich!
That's like two people marrying and never sleeping in the same bed (at the same time). You can't make a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich that way — and she can't grow watermelons either!
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.