Good news weekend : Israel.

Another week has rushed by and it’s time for another Good News Weekend post.

Let’s start with the weather – as I have mentioned previously, it has been raining almost non-stop for the last couple of months, dropping almost unprecedented amounts of rain all over the country. The temperatures have plummeted too, bringing loads of snow to Mt. Hermon and other high peaks in the country.

The blessed result of all this rain? The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is rapidly filling up and if it continues at this rate, the authorities will have to open the dam at the southern end of the lake to prevent it overflowing into Tiberias. Opening the dam will allow the water to flow into the River Jordan and from there to the much-depleted Dead Sea.

It’s not a simple decision to open the dam – the timing must be right, and it’s something the Water Authority is mulling:

Israel’s Water Authority met Wednesday to set a series a critical water level points at which to give the order to open the Degania Dam which sits between Lake Kinneret — also known as the Sea of Galilee — and the northernmost point of the Jordan River.

The decision is facing Israeli environmental authorities in the remaining months of the winter season, between February to April. This is the time when the final possible chance that rain might fall comes to an end, just as Jews around the world conclude recitation of the blessing for winter rains in the daily services, and begin instead the blessing for morning dew.

The Degania Dam is to be opened only if the level of the lake reaches the upper red line — meaning the lake has reached full capacity.

On Tuesday morning, the level of the lake stood at 210.01 meters below sea level. The upper red line is 208.8 meters below sea level, and the lower red line is 213.0 meters below sea level.

At present, the water level is just 1.22 meters before the point at which the lake will reach full capacity.

Opening the dam would prevent the possible flooding of the communities located near the lake, and would replenish the waters of the Jordan River and onward south to the Dead Sea.

However, there is also a concern that should there be too much water moving too swiftly, it may cause damage to infrastructure and agricultural areas downstream of the Jordan River, in the Yarmouk River and more.

One of the biggest concerns in the danger of waiting too long, because the rise in the level of water may move faster than the speed at which the water can be released from the lake via the Degania Dam.

We have been blessed to have such “problems” as the possibility of the Kinneret overflowing. It is not only the rain that will raise the water level. All that snow on the Hermon will begin to melt as the temperatures rise towards Pesach and that water too will flow down to the lake as well as to the Jordan and its tributaries.

Thank G-d for giving us such rains of blessing this year, and kol hakavod to the Water Authority for managing the water resources in the Kinneret, preventing over-pumping and building desalination plants.

Changing theme completely, Israel’s education system has begun adopting a fantastic new initiative, “80 plus 4″, pairing kindergartens with old age homes. It was based on a similar UK program and Israeli TV has been broadcasting some of the meetings between children and seniors.

It is such a brilliant idea, and the results so heart-warming, so I am extremely proud that my grandson’s kindergarten in Karnei Shomron has joined the 80+4 program together with the Golden Age Center in the community.

Here are some pictures of the first meeting this week (and yes, my grandson is in those pictures  )

This wonderful initiative of 80+4, where kindergarten children “adopt” an old age centre and do joint activities with the residents, has taken off in Karnei Shomron with my grandson’s kindergarten, Gan Brosh.  Look at all the smiling faces on both age groups.

Kol hakavod to the local council and the teachers and children as well as the senior citizens who took part.

Image may contain: 6 people, people sitting

Huge kol hakavod to the local council of Karnei Shomron, their welfare services, the Golden Age center and the Brosh kindergarten and its teachers for taking part. I am sure everyone, from every age group, will benefit hugely from this program.

With these happy thoughts in mind I wish you all Shabbat Shalom, a quiet, peaceful and dry (for a change!) weekend.

………..

First posted as “Good News Friday” at Anne’s Opinions.

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