Tel Aviv Diary June 13 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - June 13, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

June 13, 2006

Are you lost? Can you not understand what this sign is about? It's an invitation!

I have managed to figure it out, but only because I know what it is supposed to be saying there. "Love Soup" - at the "Hammama," (which is a smaller hall in the Opera building, entered from the side, just off of Shaul Hamelech street). June 29, 2006. 8:30 p.m. Tickets are 80 shekel, although there are discounts for students (70 shekel) and group tickets of 20 for 50 shekel. There is a phone number to call for tickets.

There are a few other problems with this program. It isn't clear that there are 3 presentations, and our musical director is Roy Yarkoni.

For the texts of the program, go to Love Soup Booklet.

For a description in Hebrew of the show go to program. For an explanation in English, look at Dan Ben Tsur's review on Ynet here.

For questions, write me at

This show will never happen again, so see if you can make it.

Another example of how Tel Aviv fiddles while Sderot burns.

The terrible tragedy of the Ralya family on the beach at Gaza was not caused by the Israelis, the tests here say. Will the world buy it? I don't know, but I do - and you know I do not trust anyone blindly. But our surgical assasinations are causing a lot of tragedy in Gaza, even if not to the Ralya family. Tragedies like these are never in the past - they're always in the present - always remembered as if they happened today. Believe me, I know.

June 14, 2006

A little theoretical question. What if Igal Amir had murdered Rabin in Shfaram? The question of his starting a family wouldn't have been in the courts today, would it?

June 15, 2006

I know - that was below the belt. But it does have significance anyway.

Here's another one. How can it be that we say we didn't fire at the Ralya family and the human rights people said that remains of our weapons were on the beach and therefore we must have fired at them? Well,. we treated the injured and so examined the origin of the shells - and they treated the beach and therefore examined the those shells. And we had been firing only a short while before the killing. But we didn't fire those exact shots. And yet, and yet, if we had been just firing in that area - what were those people doing on the beach? I'm sure in this case that the truth - whatever it is - will be clear within the next few days. But the tragedy of innocent victims remains -


I made a very interesting slip this evening - and almost couldn't fall asleep thinking about what it could mean for me. Now I make slips all the time, misnaming my best friend for a moment, but this one was of particular interest to me. Standing around with a group of academics, a young man was introduced into the circle who apologetically noted that he was in politics. I said something like, well you know what samuel johonson said about politics --- (no no we don't) that it is the last refuge of the scoundrel. there was a silence, and then someone gently noted, "I thought that was what he said about patriotism." "How strange that YOU of all people would confuse politics with patriotism," a student of literature added, carefully avoiding any criticism of my mind or my memory. And i went home puzzled about where indeed this mixup would come from.

Perhaps it had something to do with my decision earlier on today to reassert my love for this country. I had been trying to compose a kind of autobiographical introduction to a book of my poetry coming out in Italian and found myself writing about my decision to live in this country: "I found Israel irresistible." I wrote, and didn't qualify or modify that sentence. How strange, how strange to discover such unwavering patriotism in me, I thought.

Maybe that strange spark was reignited by a decision on the part of the supreme court to move the security fence. The high court of justice in fact ordered the moving of the fence where it juts out into the west bank on to the farm land north of kalkilia (about 10 m from my house ). I particularly like the careful wording that the court had been misled about the pure security nature of the routing of the fence...

"Why did you dedicate your reading at the university this week to Shaindy Rudolf?" Nili, a friend who had slipped in and out of the reading on Monday without my seeing her, queried me today. How could I not, I thought. I was looking out at the audience of students - and remembered how surprised I was to discover in Shaindy the same interest in providing these students with the means for fulfilling whatever creative potential they might have. It was the first time I'd ever met that - someone who wanted to foreground the students and not their own talents. I must have told her that a thousand times. It's not that I knew her all that well, but that i admired her all that well.

Here she is again. Ezi snapped her from the first row, so she's behind the podium, And yet it suits her.

"a kranken fregt men, a gezunten git men," goes the saying in yiddish. A sick person should be asked about what he wants to eat, but there is no reason a healthy person should not have food shoved down his throat. ... More of this tomorrow.

June 16, 2006

This is for Sunday evening - a good bet - I'm going to do my best to make it.

Ah but my back, my back. It has prevented my presence at innumerable events this week and continues to threaten. It has been a few months in the making, says Smadar - you've been complaining more and more and not paying attention. I even noticed in the video of the Israel Festival that when I wasn't sitting or dancing I was limping. And this week I realized absolute action is necessary if i want to start sleeping at nights and stop snapping at people in the days. So I called Tzipi, the master of the laconic diagnosis, and began a series of all those treatments that every one has when they don't want to visit the surgeon yet.

What does this have to do with Tel Aviv? Nothing. It was just the reason that I was thinking about the Yiddish phrase I mentioned yesterday -- and why I feel I am so tentative.

June 17, 2006

Sometimes I go to the museum and everything is so blah, so dusty and local. I haven't even been writing about it lately - Today we should have gone to Gaash or some other back activity, but i was so frustrated at not having seen anything worth looking at in so long we shlepped to the< a href=""> Tel Aviv Museum and were greatly rewarded. Because I couldn't handle much we limited ourselves to 3 exhibits -MICHAL ROVNER: FIELDS, LEON ENGELSBERG:A RETROSPECTIVE, and DISENGAGEMENT. Each one of the three were worth the trip and a numb leg. Rover is usually known for uniquely blending video and art. And I found many of her inspirations to have a particularly local perspective - the hieroglyphics which upon closer look are little people moving independently, but as a group, the rows of people apathetically following each other, the ancient ruins alive with humanity, the concern with environment, even the seething petrie dishes - Somehow I couldn't help but think that this is Israel.

Englesberg - that only recently discovered painted who spent his life here after the war ignored and frustrated - moved me to tears: The innumerable self portraits, unsentimental, sharp, with their fragmented memory of the past, and their willingness to represent what there is, without trying to make sense.

And the Disengagement, which documents that first move in photography and video from so many perspectives - riveted our attention even though we had seen it all before on the news last year.

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