What images do you associate with the word “autumn”? I think of leaves in stunning hues of red, orange, and yellow, scarecrows, pumpkins, and big plump turkeys. Or perhaps you envision tall leather boots, warm cozy sweaters, and hot pumpkin-spiced latte. I’ll break it to you gently, but things are a bit different here in Israel.
In Israel, the symbols of autumn or “stav” are very different. If you have young children in gan (preschool), they will not be bringing home crafts of colored leaves or other fall-themed crafts you are used to. You will see snails, nachlieli birds, and rainy day themed projects.
One thing I love about living in Israel is all the seasonal themes and holidays revolve around the Jewish year. In October the only holiday that was on my children’s radar was Sukkos. The talk of the town was all about lulavim, esrogim, and sukkas – no spooky-themed decorations graced any store or advertisement.
Another indication of fall beside the symbols mentioned above is the KREMBO. A Krembo is a chocolate-coated marshmallow fluff atop a biscuit cookie. It’s too sweet for my liking, but nevertheless, it’s part of the Israeli culture and makes its appearance after Sukkot.
The next holiday will be Chanukah. Get used to saying the Hebrew words and not the Yiddish ones you may be more familiar with: sevivon=dreidl, levivot=latke, chanukiah= menorah. If you don’t use Hebrew, people might look at you with a very confused look because Yiddish words are not commonplace lingo.
Things to note this time of year:
- Snails come out after a rain, sometimes crawling out of their shells
- Jerusalem stone is slippery when wet. Use railings.
- Public places such as waiting rooms often have a bucket to contain wet umbrellas.
- Your water will be cold unless you turn on the dood shemesh דוד שמש. During sunny and warm weather months the sun heats up the water. In the winter or cloudy days, you need to manually turn it on if you want hot water. Many people will but a timer on the dood shemesh so the water is hot and ready for you when you want to shower.
- It can be colder inside than outside. Think layers of clothing to keep warm.
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Thanks for reading.
Karen, The Klutter Koach
November 12, 2017 (updated October 9, 2018) (updated November 1, 2019)