« Pulp [truth is stranger than] Fiction | Main | Photo Friday (Vol. III) »

Thursday, November 18, 2004

News Flash: Israelis Reach Consensus!

It hasn’t happened very often lately, but this morning I drove to work all by myself. No hitchhikers… no soldiers… no students… just little old me alone with my thoughts (I know… probably a dangerous thing).

At first I was a little disappointed to be alone because the weather was pretty dreary. The temperature has slowly been dropping for the past week or two, and all through last night and into this morning it has been raining buckets!

Once I left Efrat, I realized that it’s been ages since I had the car to myself. My cell phone number seems to have passed like a virus to nearly everyone who has ever even considered traveling south. However, it occurred to me that one doesn’t realize the joy of just driving… singing along with the music… and quietly contemplating the scenery as it rushes past… until the opportunity to do so has been absent for a time.

Today’s music selection consisted of my big three ‘rainy day’ artists; Carol King (Tapestry), Carly Simon (Greatest Hits), and James Taylor (Greatest Hits). Don’t ask me why I always pick these three for my rainy day listening. Maybe it's because the three of them all collaborated with one another and can even be heard here and there doing back-up vocals on each other’s albums. Maybe it’s because they all sing bittersweet nostalgic songs that lend themselves to looking at the world through rain-streaked windows.

Or, maybe I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about and I just like their music.

Anyway, my solitary drive through the fog and rain was strangely soothing. I got the chance to look around at the way the water was changing the landscape in the mountains near my home… in the vineyards and orchards nestled in the countless valleys I passed… and across the desert landscape near my office.

The seasonal changes aren't as obvious as those in New England, but the leaves in the vineyards turning to yellow and the first few big rains are clear signals that fall has officially come to the holy land.

This line of thought led logically to something that had struck me as funny last year; the national obsession with the water level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Every news report from now until early summer will include an exact measurement of the lake’s water level and it’s relationship to the ‘red line’ (overflowing point), and Israelis of every stripe will take quiet comfort in the lake’s slow march towards that mark.

It seems strange to me that Israel, which is much more oriented towards industry than agriculture these days, should take nearly universal interest in the annual rainfall. Religious Jews incorporate prayers for rain into their fall and winter services, while secular Israelis offer their own silent prayers for adequate rains.

It’s interesting to me that in so many places around the world rain is seen as a nuisance or worse, and here it is met with smiles and deep, almost primal, satisfaction.

By the time I was nearing Beer Sheva, and the steady drizzle of rain on the windshield had tapered off to a few wisps of fog across the road, I realized that I’d stumbled upon that most elusive thing… something that is common to Israelis of every persuasion! The long sought universal agreement has been sitting here all along, right under our noses!

We may never agree on the correct way to relate to the Arabs. We may never arrive at an agreement on how to properly govern ourselves. But with the first great cloudbursts of the season, I suspect that there might be something approaching a national consensus afoot.

To those of you reading this in your homes and offices around the world, this small concurrence may not seem very important. But in a place like Israel where people can argue bitterly about everything from the proper price for a loaf of bread to the latest bit of foreign or domestic policy, we should probably savor the rare moments of consensus wherever and whenever we find them.

See you tomorrow (Photo Friday… who will it be???).


Posted by David Bogner on November 18, 2004 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference News Flash: Israelis Reach Consensus!:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Having grown up in southern California, I recognize the rain part. Drought always affects you, even if you don't work the land. It determines whether or not you can water your lawn or if you have to flee from wildfires. It makes perfect sense to me.

Now in Minnesota, that happens with the first snow. Everyone smiles, the mood is instantly lightened, no matter where you are. And even though I have the same reaction, I know it makes absolutely no sense.

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 18, 2004 7:31:19 PM

Oh yah! Rainy days and Mondays always get me down!

The first rain is always wonderful...for about 10 minutes. Then, as it continues to bucket down (now I understand why they call the first rain HaYoreh!) and the drivers make no effort whatsoever to avoid speeding through the engorged puddles and thereby drenching head to toe every pedestrian on the sidewalk who didn't get out of the way in time, it starts to lose its mythic quality and turns into just plain ol' rain. ;) G*d bless every drop.

Tanya, the only trouble is that by the first snowfall in Minnesota, it's already been bone dry since the last leaves fluttered to the ground and it's a wonderful cover up for the brown grass. Talk to us again in March, will ya? :D May all your roads be dry next Thursday night for Thanksgiving dinner.

Posted by: jennifer | Nov 18, 2004 10:57:03 PM

The weight loss seems to be going well. Keep up the good work!!

Posted by: Marjorie | Nov 18, 2004 11:24:05 PM

I went to undergrad in southern California, and when it rained I could always pick out the native Californians by how they reacted.

By the way, do you often pick up hitchhikers?

Posted by: Geoff | Nov 18, 2004 11:51:23 PM

It was either the chief Rabbi of Palestine in the 1940s Rabbi Cook, or the Who who said

"Only love can make it rain like tears from on high"

David: I assume you celebrated Thanksgiving in the States. Do you still? If not, do you miss it? If so, a very happy one to you and yours. (We read Psalm 100 at the table -- seems perfect for the occasion, and Washington's original proclamation.)

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 19, 2004 12:23:06 AM

I am a native Los Angeleno and one of the reasons I stay in LA is to avoid the rain. Feh.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 19, 2004 2:19:11 AM

Tanya... I haven't yet zeroed in on a particular place that you haven't lived! Some day you and I will have to sit down with a map and start from the beginning. :-)

Jennifer... thank you very much, I now have Carpenter's music bouncing around my head! Not a good thing for someone on a diet!!! :-)

Marjorie... Yeah... I seem to be stuck here in 'Room 222' for the moment (ok, did I just date myself?). Thanks for noticing, though.

Geoff... I pick up hitchhikers all the time. It is an accepted part of the culture here. For more on this topic, read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Holy Land that I wrote awhile back.

Doctor Bean... Thanksgiving was and still is a big holiday in our house. Zahava just put in our order with the butcher for a fresh turkey. Since I have to work on the real Thanksgiving, we will celebrate it the next evening on Friday night (Shabbat) with some good friends from the US.

Jack... You would love it here for 3/4 of the year! Not a drop of rain!!!

Posted by: David | Nov 19, 2004 10:53:26 AM

OK-call me dense, but what do the Carpenters have to do with dieting??

Posted by: jennifer | Nov 19, 2004 2:01:28 PM

Since David won't be back today, I'll field that. I think he's refering to Karen Carpenter's anorexia.

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 19, 2004 10:10:07 PM

*cough* referring.

And I could be wrong. (Anyway, we'd mail cake before we'd let him get that skinny, yes?)

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 19, 2004 10:12:40 PM

Ugh. I'm very hyper today. Pretend I didn't say "cake." Salad.

Laying off the coffee now...

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 19, 2004 10:20:12 PM

Jennifer... What Tanya said. :-)

Tanya... Thanks for fielding the question for me over Shabbat. And thanks for the kind thoughts.

Posted by: David | Nov 20, 2004 5:45:06 PM

It's obvious I'm never going to win the Celebrity category in Trivia. (I don't watch "E!" either.)


Posted by: jennifer | Nov 20, 2004 6:08:04 PM

Jennifer... I'm usually not up on show biz trivia either, but this was one event/tragedy that sort of became part of the pool of 'common knowledge'.

I was usually the 'Geography' and 'Science' champ when playing Trivial Pursuit... Zahava was the 'Entertainment' guru.

Posted by: David | Nov 20, 2004 6:18:33 PM

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In