Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dust Storms and Chamsins and Ulpan: oh my!

Since yesterday, much of the Middle East has been enveloped in a very large dust storm, the worst in Israel in 15 years, according to the Jerusalem Post.  In the morning, the kids looked out the window and said, "it's going to rain today".  I chuckled and told them that it was unlikely to the point of impossible for it to rain in Israel in September.  Then I looked out the window and said, "but it sure does LOOK like it's going to rain...."  Turns out it was just tons of dust coming over the hill next to us and heading our way.  The whole area looks like Los Angeles in the midst of very bad 1980s smog.....or like it's a very foggy day......or like Lawrence of Arabia is going to come galloping over the hills of "Rama Gimel" and ride through town.....

We had no idea that this type of weather was coming since we don't listen to the news or get the paper here (and when I looked at the front page of the Jerusalem Post in the grocery store yesterday, I realized how glad I was to be out of the loop).  We just went on our merry way walking to school yesterday morning, although we all noted how extremely hot the weather was (that's the chamsin part of this: we're in the midst of a heatwave as well as a big dust storm.  I'd say "when it rains, it pours", but, clearly, that is not the right analogy....).  I thought maybe it was hazy because it was so hot.  It wasn't until our teacher walked into ulpan and we spent the better part of an hour discussing the weather that I really understood what was going on.

photo from NASA.  Here's an interesting link to a National Geographic story about why this dust storm is happening.
It really isn't that bad out.  From our house, it looks very cloudy and dirty but, walking around in it, it really is okay.  There are many kids at the park and riding bikes around and, while I'm sure some people are curtailing their activities, most people seem to just be living life as usual (if with a few more showers per day!).  Perhaps our area just got less dust than areas that had people go to the hospital.

Here's hoping the dust storm as well as the heat wave will be over soon!


  1. I would say that in EY, nothing goes by without a reason. 5 years ago we were following the volcanic ash cloud through Google. The cloud was heading towards Israel, and we were all rather excited yet scared as to its consequences. That very day, we experienced a very hot and strong wind and the IDF was patrolling the skies more than usual. The next day we heard from Rabbi Lazer Brody what that chamsin could have meant.

    Everyone, well almost everyone, was oblivious to what was going on that day. Based on our experience living under daily Hashgacha Klali 5 years ago, I would say 'Hodu La'Hashem ki l'olam chasdo.'

    I hope you decide not to remove this comment! It is a good one to share with everybody. :)

  2. This is a comment in blogosphere that I'm quoting:

    One of the women here in our yishuv pointed out at the Rabbi's shiur tonight that the parsha last week, Ki Tavo, speaks of dust like this in chapter 28, verse 24.
    "HaShem will make the rain of your Land dust and dirt; from the heaven it will descend upon you until you are destroyed." Also the dust storm started on the 24th of Elul and it was the 24th passuk of the chapter. Very amazing but scary as it hits home so clearly!

    May Hashem's mercy never fail us.

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