By Miriam Green



No, it doesn't rain here
in the summer, I tell the tourist.

She is dazzled, expectant
on her first visit to the land,

her carefree American eyes
unconnected to God.

I want to explain how the year is split
between Succot and Passover;

how after a dry, hot season,
our prayers change in the autumn
supplicating He who makes the wind blow and the rains fall,
mashiv haruach u'morid hageshem;

how if it rains before then, it's as if God, the master,
throws a glass of wine in the face of his servant;

how the land needs our prayers to survive;

how our toilets have two flush buttons
to minimize water use for small loads;

how, between lathering and rinsing,
we shiver under the shower with the water off;

how the rain descends without warning,
drenching our hair, clothes, shoes;

how rare black irises bloom on the sand dunes near Netanya,
and flash floods form in the wadis;

how there are winter days where all you wear is a t-shirt;

how, sometimes, it snows inJerusalem,
and if the eruv falls, they announce it on television;

how we dress in layers
because it's colder inside the houses than out in the sun;

how, when it's time, our prayers change
in the spring to morid hatal asking for dew.
note: An eruv is a boundary around homes and communities made of wires tied to poles that allow carrying of items on the Jewish Sabbath.