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Hope everyone is warm...

by michael January 18 2008
WeatherMunicipal news

The last couple of days have been more or less seasonal for a Jerusalem winter - those three interminable months of harsh wind, driving rain, gray skies and empty streets - but man, was it cold earlier this week. A few days at or below freezing in a row, and everything starts to go to Hell. Like, for example, everyone's dvadei shemesh, the solar-powered water heaters on every rooftop in Jerusalem. It turns out that a few days of cold isn't accounted for in the design:

Hundreds of Jerusalem residents found themselves with no hot water or with water flowing through their apartments after the solar panels on their roofs froze over, a city plumber said Tuesday.

The temperature in Jerusalem dipped to freezing for the third consecutive night Monday, although meteorologists forecast that the mercury would rise starting Wednesday.

Plumber Yonah Mishaan, who received some 40 emergency calls on Tuesday alone, said there was a run on hardware stores for the NIS 10-20 copper caps for the heaters due to the unusually cold weather.

He added that the problem stemmed from the pressure getting too high and causing leaks.

"This happens once in a blue moon," Mishaan said. "It has really been a crazy few days."

In the meantime, he urged residents to leave a faucet dripping in order to avoid such an occurrence.

Nothing like being in a cold apartment with no hot water. Local shortsightedness when it comes to winter is an odd thing; it gets below freezing every winter, and it snows almost every winter, but somehow it's always a surprise - and somehow, many apartments still don't have heat installed. And as far as anyone thinking to put insulation in all that cold Jerusalem stone, forget it.

Jerusalemite thinks we should stop pretending we have a perfect Mediterranean climate all year round. And Jerusalemite also hopes your shower is suitably hot. Stay warm! 



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Is that a bit of a chill in the air?

by michael October 16 2007

It seems like fall might be creeping up on our fair city on seven hills with a little more alacrity than usual.

October is supposed to be the best month for weather in Jerusalem, the brief window of time opened with the retreat of summer's maddening and ceaseless heat and closed by the rains, rolling in from the sea bearing a promise of three or four miserably wet months spent slipping and sliding around on the smooth, rain-slicked flagstone of Ben Yehuda. October is the month for sitting on the mirpeset (balcony) wrapped in the clouds of smoke pouring from a bubbling nargilah and sipping from a hot cup of mint tea, caressed by invigoratingly cool night breezes. October is the month when all the kids finally go to school, meaning the city is a little quieter and emptier during the day, perfect for making the most out of all the parks.

But it seems fall is fixing to spoil a perfectly good time.

Jerusalemite is no professional weatherman, of course, and its predictions are no more reliable than anyone else's, but the nightly temperature has been dipping into the low teens (Celsius-wise), and the forecast claims that later in the week we'll be dipping down below 11, which is 50 degrees Farenheit.

That's American fall weather! Nobody lives in the Middle East because they want 50 degree days in October!

Jerusalemite can only offer this advice: there's not much you can do to slow the inexorable march of the seasons, but you can thumb fall's rainy nose a little by making the most of what warmth we have left. Get out there and soak up the sun before it's too late. Join in a kaduregel game in the park. Have a picnic. People-watch from a sidewalk table on Hillel Street. And when the rains and the cold start in earnest, you can bet that Jerusalemite will have some indoor ideas for having a good time. So stay tuned.

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Something for the architecture lovers

by michael October 09 2007
Things to doWeather

Whew. Holidays over. September is, like a Woody Allen movie or a Phillip Roth novel, "too Jewish." A Jerusalem visitor could probably hear the city-wide sigh of relief as the sun sets on Simchat Torah, the month's last holiday.

Anyway! The holidays may be over, but the fun most certainly ain't. October is one of the loveliest months to be in Jerusalem - the often oppressive heat of summer has subsided, and the frigid and unrelenting rains of December and January are just far enough away in the future that the pall of their impending arrival doesn't hang over the city. So with this whole month of lovely days spread out before you, Jerusalemite highly recommends that you go out and have a little fun.

Accommodating you, as "always," is the Jerusalem Municipality, which has a full slate of upcoming events: among them an architectural extravaganza called "Inside Housing." From the Municipality's website

Throughout the event, 100 unique houses and public structures will be open to the public without charge.
Among these buildings will be synagogues, monasteries and special gardens, government and public buildings.

The event will be sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality and many Israeli construction companies as well as several associations.

The program will include special free activities for children.

Jerusalemite is all for it. Our city may not have the reputation of a Paris or a Prague for inspiring architecture, but we've been around longer than those upstart punk settlements, and Jerusalem is full of lovely building if you know where to look (i.e., away from those monstrously modern landscape warts they call "apartments"). So seize this rare opportunity to see the inside of some of Jerusalem's greatest buildings - and try walking there, too.

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