Tel Aviv Diary April 14, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 14-18, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 14, 2006

I've heard that the Arabs in Jerusalem used to call Passover "Idl Beid" or the 'holiday of eggs.' And today I saw that the Druze were doing a booming business on the roadsides selling "Pita Druzi." There hs always been something of an interrelationship between the Jews and the Arabs on this holiday. For example, there is a holiday at the end of Passover called "Mimuna." This was originally a hosting by the jews of their Arab neighbors in thanks for the Arabs' purchasing of the Jewish chametz. It's become a Jewish-Oriental-Moroccan picnic-feast, without the Arabs.

This is Ronit Ziv this night, together with Ro i Yarkoni, at Tmuna:

April 15, 2006

Hello? hello? Is anyone home? Traffic is suddenly moving in Tel Aviv, there are no real jams, there is even parking around here. Why am I not not in London? All we're getting around here are threats - the Hamas says it will never recognize us, Iran says we'll be wiped off the face of the earth... Why aren't I in somewhere safe -

I'm thinking particularly about London because I had a talk with some distant relative yesterday - Arthur Chase - who reminded me that his grandmother was from London. She was my grandmother's sister and named Moscowitz. Another sister also moved to London at the beginning of the twentieth century (probably to be with her sister), but got homesick and moved back to Lida - just in time for WWI. Yet a third sister left Lida between the wars. She was the one (Rivka Berkov) who sponsored my family and brought them to Rochester when they were thrown out of England.

Anyway while my mind was filled with all these relatives of a previous generation seeking safety, we went to the movies to see "Mrs. Henderson Introduces" which is about the spirited survival of a theater during the Blitz.

After all this nostalgia and anxiety, I should say something about the present. Under serious security, we did a little shopping tonight - the Ramat Aviv mall was crowded at 11:00 p.m. and we bought stuff from two shops - both saleswomen were Arab, and conversed with their colleagues in Arabic.

I have to say I am impressed by this. I really like the idea - there are lots of Arab customers in the mall, and a lot of Arab people in sales in pharmacies and do-it-yourself stores, but I haven't seen that many in 'classy' places. The fear of scaring away customers perhaps?

April 16, 2006

Anyway there has been a change in the behavior of salespeople in recent years. While they may still pull the dress behind you so it looks like it fits and say, see, it's perfect on you! there is more of an attempt to be polite, sweet, and even to find what you want.

Try finding matzos in tel aviv, though. Okay in the malls, yes. But in the restaurants. Not only have they given up on the expensive operation of kashering the place for passover, but they've gone on to serving bread right out in the open. No wonder I love this city of sin.

April 17, 2006

What can i tell you - i don't know. i haven't been able to find some of the family yet. probably sleeping. but when there's such a terrible explosion so close to home, i can't think of anything else.

Thanks to all of you for writing. I finally found the last one.

No way you can not be involved in this tragedy. Gilad is working all night in Emergency, trying to put together parts of people. Sorry - I can't put words together tonight.

April 18, 2006

I'm looking around in the supermarket wondering how all these people seem totally involved in preparations for the holiday, when there was such a terrible bombing yesterday. Aren't they afraid to be away from the cover of their beds? It was just a moment and then i got involved in the question of how to disguise store-bought gefilte fish to make it look like home made.

I guess we're getting used to the fact that we'll never graduate to post-trauma status.

Oh, and if you're in Israel, they need blood donations at Magen David Adom. I have O-

Unfortunately, they're closed on the holidays.

Israel Festival - May 29, 2006

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