Tel Aviv Diary July 24-28, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - July 24-28, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 24, 2017

We are in despair over the news. And the heat. I escape by preparing a paper for the world jewish congress on Kurt Gerron and the holocaust.

Maybe the heat is turning us all into madmen. I went to get my hair colored as usual and found myself with orange and pink highlights. i didn't even know it was going on - was really not paying attention. So now I have the hair of a newly-divorced-thirty-year old. And the rest of me is 72.

And in the pool this morning these old men kept bumping into me because they were swimming in the wrong lane. And I totally lose the rhythm of my breathing when someone knocks into me. I guess people don't know if they're coming or going around here.

July 25, 2017

Sabrine came over today with all kinds of food, but i was so excited by her visit that even though she said she had not had breakfast, I forgot to serve the arissa, the cakes, and all the goodies she had brought from Teibe. What a hostess. We sat there for 2 hours and I let her starve while we talked about poetry.

She is becoming a writer, I can tell. She told me she went on a writers' retreat in Serbia with a bunch of Jewish women, some religious, some settlers. The women didn't know each other before the trip but became warm friends. How could they not warm up to Sabrine? She said the first exercise was to write a sentence containing a secret about yourself, and after they'd done that, and put the sentences into a hat, they had to pick out a random piece of paper and write a paragraph continuing it. She picked "I really miss my home that I will never be able to return to," and added to it about how she has been learning in the past years that her home was herself, and that she created her home wherever she was. The sentence had been written by a woman who had been evacuated from the settlements that were given to Gaza and then totally destroyed by them. The two women became soul friends.

July 26, 2017

37 years ago Ezi and I went to Cyprus to get married. It was all about the rabbinate- but that's another story. Anyway upon the advice of a reform rabbi, we went to Cyprus, contacted the lady the rabbi recommended, and she arranged everything. Within 2 days we were officially wed according to Cyprian law. My mother was accepting when i told her, but requested we come to the U.S. where she took us from the airport to a rabbi, who married us properly. We celebrate both weddings in the same way - with promises to do something special. But the truth is - every day is a holiday for us and we always wind up doing the same chores.

July 27, 2017

I started writing in Yiddish a few years ago in order to recreate the atmosphere of Post-Holocaust in which i grew up in, to tell the stories of the immigrants, the traumas of my family, etc. Now as I go through them with Rivka Bassman, who has written few poems of her experiences in the Holocaust, I wonder whether the stories need be told. "I know the hidden places of tears," she wrote. But not all stories can be told, she adds now. She looks for the positive experiences in life - and i have burdened her with horrible stories.

As if the news wasn't enough to depress one. I am convinced Bibi is taking Henry IV's advice - to create foreign wars so that the domestic ones will be looked over.


To Karen Alkalay-Gut Home Page