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Tel Aviv Diary - April 3-7, 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 3-7, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 3, 2009

I should have started a few hours ago but i could make it in time. so i'm a day late. It's like when my mother used to ask me if i want leftovers, and when i'd say yes, she'd say, come back tomorrow.

Can't bring myself to write what I want to. It hurts too much. Suddenly I looked at the space I've created between my previous political stance and my present voting actions , and I see that every step I've taken to create this big gap has been made on the basis of 'practicality' and now i'm stuck with a foreign minister who is a former bouncer. Where did I go? Why? Is it too late? As an individual I think I haven't changed: I'm the same old loving person I've always been - maybe even more... how did i get Liberman to represent me?

Here we are in the Carmel market, five thirty on friday afternoon. Almost all the booths are closed, and the leftover vegetables have been dumped into the street for the poor to pick over before the cleaning machine. Uhm Kultoom is playing from one of the open booth and we're picking out avocados. "China," the boy selling me the fruit shouts out, and we laugh 'what a nickname' and an oriental man comes running. He gives out instructions in Arabic, and he runs off to bring crates. We go over to Pappa's, the Italian restaurant, where a Brazilian band is just finishing up playing, and listen to Frank Sinatra music for a while before we go home to our typical Tel Aviv apartment.

April 4, 2009<>The absolute holiday of Shabbat. How many times have I witten about it? Whether it's taken out in prayer or shopping, it is still amazing. It is as if the whole day is blessed no matter what you do. And I'm in need of blessing. Not serious need, just a happy need.

My (younger) friends are all texting me that they are in the middle of the crowd of 250,000 people celebrating the 100th year of Tel Aviv's creation, and I am very happy answering them from my bed. My celebrations take place just walking the streets of this city.

April 5, 2009

Today I walked the streets of Ramat Hasharon. Amazing how near it is to Tel Aviv and how different a character there is. When I first lived there it was just beginning to be a town, and still had the rural character of a moshava. There was a supermarket - a little too far for an easy walk, mostly dirt roads, and a little grocery (that in its darkness only the old man behind the counter knew where things were. you couldn't even see to read your grocery list to him). Now it is a combination of Rodeo Drive and that moshava. Something about Tel Aviv is more fun - more real, combined, sophisticated....

Apropos of more real - I'm doing another radio program tomorrow - Army channel - at 10 - on Ferlinghetti. I'm always amazed at how that channel has so many diverse items. Sometimes I imagine some soldier freezing in some outpost with nothing to do but listen to the radio and only the army channel in range....

April 6, 2009

The old jewish adage that you can't dance at two weddings with one rear-end is always an issue before passover. Everybody's trying to handle everything at once before the holidays. Last night at a poetry reading one woman read her poems and then excused herself to go home and clean. (Let's not get into the rudeness this indicates. Another poet went over the time period, making it impossible for the host to read his own work...).

But I digress. I had already committed to a reading in Jerusalem's Tmol Shilshom when we received a wedding invitation in Nachshonim from a very close friend. So we drove to Jerusalem for the reading and fortunately made it to Nachsonim in time for the ceremony. The wedding was wonderful, but by the time the dessert came around I couldn't keep my eyes open. And I still haven't cleaned or cooked or bought afikomen presents. this is not the way i would like to enjoy my simchas. I'd like to savor each one of them.

Water rationing begins. For months I've been thinking about it - how we shower without turning off the faucet when soaping, pour water into the kettle without measuring, and my worst obsession is i really like clean clothes. And now we're going to have to start measuring. I have a feeling it would be cost-effective if i have my hair done every week instead of shampooing at home and wasting all that rinsing...

April 7, 2009

I must have been exhausted yesterday to dwell over the water rationing. I should have been baking. So I had to bake this morning. And now I'll tell you what I made. First a wine-chocolate passover cake, and then mandelbrodt. Here's the mandelbread in case you're into that sort of stuff.

2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
6 eggs
2 3/4 cups matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup potato starch
Optional additions 2 cups of one, or one cup of two, cups of three each chopped walnuts
semisweet chocolate chips
dried cranberries
dried blueberries

Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Add the dried ingredient. Blend. Gently mix in the additions. Wet hands. Divide the dough into halves and form each half into a loaf about a foot long, a whole finger long and a finger joint thick.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of cinnamon and two teaspoons of sugar over the top. Bake for 45 minutes in medium oven. Cool, slice into thin servings.
The wine-cake is a pretty standard sponge cake with orange juice and kiddush wine.

Yesterday I was worried about my relatives on vacation in Italy - today I'm worried about Hussein Hamada. My relatives turned out to be close enough to wake up but far enough away to go back to sleep. Hamada was in the middle of the earthquake. I have a very bad feeling about him. "What are you so worried about?" Ezi says, "Because we're on the same fault line?" Yes, we're long overdue for one of our own...

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