Tel Aviv Diary Feb 7, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from February 7, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

Febuary 7, 2004

Oren's on the web - you've heard about him - now see him in action! here!

Tu Bishvar higiya - the new year of the trees.

Now normal people will be going out all day planting new trees, and i have been replanting and reordering my little window garden. And I will go out now and see what the recent rains have coaxed out of the parks and the dirt. The neglected garden around our house (as it waits for us to get all the neighbors to agree to fix the broken columns and then remodel) is a perfect example. All you have to do is water the powdery earth and something will grow. As soon as the rains come - now - the landscape suddenly becomes green - black irises, narcissus, cyclamen, unidentifiable green...

But no, I have to be at the airport at 4 so i'll spend my morning at the museum - where so much else grows.

"In Jewish mystical thought, the Tu Bishvat seder became a time to atone for sexual impropriety by blessing, eating and meditating on the symbolism of fruit" by Rabbi Miles Krassen, MY JEWISH LEARNING I had a different experience with trees.

February 8, 2004

My brother Joe's birthday today.

And an amazingly beautiful day it is.

I've begun to become involved in planning for book parties, etc. Since my publisher doesn't have any money or organization to handle it, i'm doing something preliminary - So you're invited too: February 26 Shesek Lillienblum 17 9 p.m.

How is it that we're doing a party at a place for young people only? I think we've discussed this - the differences between ages here seem less extreme, less unfathomable.

Ezi has returned from abroad - having had to take care of his travelling companion whose back went out. And I kept comparing the way he was treated in the US with the way he would have been treated here. Yair Nitzani was talking about our medical system here - about the long hours doctors work. he said that doctors here first recommend bed rest (because they are so tired that is all they can think about). But it is also my experience that they are much more willing here to send patients for tests before they make diagnoses.

Of course we have a hypochondriac mentality here -

February 9,2004

Hypochondriac and Blind. Sensitive to ourselves and blind to the outside. Of course I am talking about myself. I don't know what to do about the absolute crises in almost every sector of this society - The other night I was talking to a manager of a very large international company and we were speculating: how DO people who have not been paid for months live? what do they do? how do they eat? where do they get credit - what does the grocer do?

Me - in my designer grocery - i pay by credit - at the end of the month with a check for the next month. that gives me automatic credit for 2 months. that's it. it only works because the prices are higher and because i've never welched in the 25 years i've been buying there. how does it work in some place like Sderot where so many people are unemployed and many are new immigrants... what do you eat?

Like that lady in Yerucham last week walking with her terrier. Where is there a place to eat, I asked her. Shabbat Lunch time. There's no where to eat, she said. "Come to my house - I have chicken, I have niknak (sausage). I make you a fast lunch." She offered lunch for 3 people - and we refused. "You would have gone!" said Ezi as we drove away. And I have no doubt.

I'm sure i would have found out about how SHE makes it through the month, what HER budget is, what the tricks are to get by.

Here it is, the site you've been waiting for. Ray just sent me the address for GOOGLE in YIDDISH!

February 10, 2004

I spent a magic hour on the beach yesterday - it happens too rarely for me but from the size of the crowd it must be a daily thing for many many people. Only the dogs were actually swimming when i was there. Most people were drinking coffee at the beach side tables and relaxing. Some people, like David who lured me there, go there for their lunch hour, or for a break between scurrying around Tel Aviv. There were more women than men, and some were actually working, with brief cases and cellular phones. I had a quick fix of hummous and mint tea and promised to go back when i have more time. I highly recommend it.

There we discussed the proposed electricity blackout as part of the striking municipalities - i am happy to say that Tel Aviv is not participating in this strike at this moment and our evening was wasted on 'sex and the city'.

February 11, 2004

Last night, coming back from Jerusalem, I kept remembering that corruption of Samuel Johnson's saying about London and stopped myself from saying over and over again that the best view in Jerusalem is the road to Tel Aviv. The road from Maale Hachamisha, north of Abu Gosh, where the translators' conference was begin held, was wrapped in clouds so heavy it was impossible to see, but as we descended to Tel Aviv, it all cleared up.

Yoram Kaniuk once wrote you are visitor number


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