Itamar had quite a winter experience this week that began last Wednesday when the weather experts informed us to brace ourselves for a snow storm. Of course, the accuracy of weather reports are never a hundred percent. Most of us were skeptical but anxious. In the end it turned out to be the storm of the century. Starting Thursday night with the heavy snow and wind gusts electric power to all of Itamar’s neighborhoods was cut off. It was so cold and families were trying to keep warm. Most of our residents rely on electric heating because of the high gas and fuel prices. The fortunate ones with gas heaters and fireplaces invited people into their homes to keep warm. The hardest part was to prepare for Shabbat without any electricity. Our emergency lights ran out of battery power and not everyone had candles. We literally were in a cloud of darkness. The sun did not even peek at us for four days. It just didn’t stop snowing. It was quite and adventure walking to shul (the synagogue) on Friday night. Candles were lit in the shul on every table and we all were trying to keep warm by shaking back and forth. The wind was howling and the huge snowflakes were rapidly coating the windows. When the evening prayer service ended we all began the difficult task of trying to make it home without becoming frostbitten. Of course, without heating we really couldn’t escape from the cold snowy outside world into a warm comfortable home. Those who live closer to the shul were able to make it home before they turned into snowmen but many were not so fortunate. The Shabbat meal was an amazing experience we really appreciated the Shabbat candle lighting more than ever. Unfortunately, the food cooled off in our plates before we got a chance to eat it. On the other hand, the ambience was so special and it was a fantastic opportunity to cuddle all together and share our thoughts with our families. Saturday night snow plows opened the roads for a short while and some families with very young children were evacuated to the coastal regions of Israel. Sunday morning the snow finally slowly tapered off. The long awaited sun finally showed its face and we were able to see the surrounding hills all painted white. Was this Switzerland or Israel we were asking ourselves Schools were closed and no one was able to go to work. While the children were rejoicing in the snow, the adults were trying to find out when electricity will be restored to their homes and how they are going to get food for their families. The only vehicles moving were our security and army jeeps that were directing a few snow plows to try and clear the major access roads. The Itamar community staff and volunteers worked relentlessly making their way from one house to house in order to make sure everyone was ok. Then the complete picture began to appear. Itamar’s farmers has lost their hot houses and livestock. Trees were down everywhere. The Itamar perfume factory totally collapsed on all its contents. Our petting zoo was destroyed. Three class rooms of our high school collapsed as well. On the other hand the beauty was beyond imagination. People from places like Tel Aviv, Netanaya and the coastal area were very happy to drive less than an hour to our little Switzerland.
For Special Emergency appeal for those who sustained severe snow damage please see this link.
A lot of girls were born on Itamar recently! Apparently the snow had something to do with it.
Mazal tov to michal and Ohad Gadot on the birth of a daughter.
Mazal tov to Mivaseret and Yehuda Rekinatin on the birth of a daughter.
Mazal Tov to Yisrael Chay and Milkah on the birth of twin girls.
Mazal tov to Eliyahu and Renanah miller on the birth of a daughter.
Watch Rabbi Goldsmith’s Torah lesson on the weekly portion.