Well, here it is – the end of September and the beginning of a new year according to the Jewish calendar. Summer is ending, the season is changing, and I for one am delighted … although I must admit I do feel a little off kilter. I still associate autumn with the splendid displays of red and gold and orange foliage of my old North American home (although some leaves do turn color in the Israeli autumn, the preponderance of evergreens tends overshadow them). I remember the brand new first apples of the season appearing on the trees and adding further to the glorious color scheme. The pleasure of these magnificent sights was somewhat allayed by the anticipation of winter, which in eastern Canada is not to be taken lightly.
In Israel, fall means something entirely different to me. The cooler days of autumn signify to me, not that snow will soon be falling, but that I can finally breathe.
And that is why I feel out of step.
The children of my neighborhood are heading off to school dressed in jackets and hats, while I am at last feeling comfortable going for a walk in my summer clothes … in the middle of the day! I no longer have to plan to get to the supermarket the minute it opens in the morning to make the long trek home, schlepping my shopping cart, somewhat bearable.
I remember years ago in my old neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, where the weather is much warmer even than in Jerusalem, being amused when the Israeli-born mothers began to dress their infants in snowsuits. It usually happened when the temperature plummeted from 40 down to a frigid 28 degrees C (that’s from 104 degrees Fahrenheit down to about 82). My kids were still running around in shorts at that point, because I knew what snowsuits were for – to bundle up babies when the weather was below freezing, and the snow was too thick to push a stroller through, so instead we used mini baby sleds pulled by polar bears … hmm, wait, I think I’m getting carried away here.
Anyway, my point – and I do have one, as the comedian said – is that autumn in Israel, in addition to a whole holiday season, brings the loveliest weather. Perfect weather for all us, tourist or local, olim chadashim or vatikim, to get out, walk around, and enjoy this amazing country of ours. And what better way to do that than by taking part in one or more of AACI’s Succot Walking Tours?
Explore some new sights or revisit favorite sites. The tours are generally more walks than hikes, and last only a few hours, allowing all members of the family to participate. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is relaxed yet festive. Come join us. And enjoy the beauty of Israel in the fall.
You will be welcome whether you choose to wear a short sleeved T-shirt or a full-length winter coat!
AACI’s Succot Walking Tours are offered from September 28 through October 10, 2012. Click here for details and a full schedule. Please call the tour guide for confirmation of the tour and to find out the meeting place.
Chag Sameach! Happy Fall!