Jonas Smothers Area in Snow

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Winter Storm Jonas proved to be a weekend warrior, burying the region in somewhere around 22 inches of snow and resulting in the fourth-largest snowfall in Philadelphia’s history.
 

In barely 24 hours, Winter Storm Jonas proved to be a weekend warrior, burying the region in somewhere around 22 inches of snow, depending on which measurements were used. One tally not up for dispute: It resulted in the fourth-largest snowfall in Philadelphia’s history.
 
The Jewish community was affected from the snow and slush as well. 
 
Thanks to impressively accurate long-range prediction models, the community had plenty of advance notice to prepare for the white stuff. Carol Irvine, president and CEO of Abramson Center for Jewish Life, said they had an extensive plan for the storm. 
 
Extra staff was brought in to stay overnight. The center provided free meals for staff and a few family members who stayed over. 
 
They also sent a few home care and hospice aides to sleep over at clients’ homes, as needed.
 
Sue Aistrop, director of community services at KleinLife, reminded members to stock up on water and supplies before the storm.
 
To better prepare those in need, all of their usual home-delivered meal clients received blizzard bags that consisted of hot cereal, nutrition bars, soup, tuna, pasta, raisins and juice.
 
Out of safety and logistical concerns, most area schools were closed on Monday, Jan. 25, and KleinLife followed the same protocol.
 
Programs were cancelled on Monday, but the gym and pool were still available for use, though seniors were advised to avoid the trek. 
 
The Kaiserman JCC remained open on Monday with regular programs running as scheduled, except for after-school classes. 
 
“As in the past, as long as we do not lose power, we will be open for anyone in the community who has lost power so that they can use our facility to charge cell phones, shower and hang out,” said interim executive director Phyllis Actman. 
 
But getting through the weekend was the easy part.
 
Among those in the Jewish community who really struggled with the snow was a familiar face: mine. 
 
The common phrase “I hate Mondays” has never felt more real than this past one. With many roads still blocked or covered with slush and the public transportation out of whack, it seemed like getting anywhere was impossible with the colossal cleanup from the storm.
 
Eventually, most of SEPTA’s buses, trains and trolleys were running on Monday, but with extravagant delays and limited seating.
 
But I haven’t seen the roads this empty since Pope Francis’ visit in September. 
 
When Gov. Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency the Thursday before the blizzard, I had no idea what to expect from it, nor did I think ahead to the aftermath effects.
 
As a Floridian born and raised, I usually don’t think much of weather alerts. I can handle thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes — but snowstorms are an unknown territory for me. 
 
I know this to be true on behalf of most Floridians because even northern parts of the Sunshine State saw a few flurries fall from the sky, and everyone freaked out.
 
According to The Weather Channel, 31 states saw snow, and 14 received at least a foot or more. 
 
So bracing myself for the snow, I really didn’t know what it was going to be like, nor did I really comprehend what two feet of it would look like piled onto the sidewalks and blockading my car.
 
But it looked fun enough to give it a shot, so over the weekend, after the storm I walked onto a fresh blanket of snow in a park — and tripped and fell two feet deep.
 
Then the hike to the train station Monday morning was, well, a hike. Snow lined pathways so high that I felt like I had to find an alternate path along the Great Wall of China.
 
And as someone slogging through the slush for the first time, I can only compare it to what I’ve seen in the trailer of The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio’s character clinging to life and trudging through the snow.
 
Yes, I really did just make that comparison — and I’m sticking to it. 
 
People have told me that the snow usually piles up earlier in the season and causes serious problems and annoyances. 
 
Well, I believe them now. 
 
Contact: rkurland@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0737

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