Being in Israel, the prayers for rain feel so much more powerful and connected than they are in the US.
They are timed here differently to perfectly coincide with the holidays (and people’s travels home from Jerusalem after Sukkot during the Temple Era when people made the great pilgrimage on foot) and the agricultural seasons in Israel.
They have a deeper meaning as everyone is aware of the water crisis here in the desert. While people may be annoyed with days of rain, they are always also very excited and recognize its critical importance. People actually discuss the water levels of the Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee, our largest source of water) on the street and around Shabbat tables, and it even has its own twitter account.
We noticed the first major rains came right around the start of the davening (praying) changes in the fall, and now with spring upon us, people have been debating when the rains would end. Many people said that because it had been so long since our last rain storm we were done. Others put their faith in the fact that we have another week or so to ask for rain, so we were due for one last storm.
Apparently, Hashem is paying attention to our “local calls,” because we had a nice bit of rain right before Pesach (and another surprise shower this morning) – gives a whole new meaning to holy water!