Tel Aviv Diary May 29-June 5, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - May 29-June 5, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 29, 2017

Even though I have no time for anything preparing for our voyage tomorrow, I could not help but visit Rivka Bassman again today, and we went over the poems I've been writing in Yiddish. She is often quite shocked by my subjects, dutiful in correcting my spelling and sometimes my diction, and accepting of my poetry. "It isn't your fault," she said today, "that Yiddish isn't your mother tongue. And you're trying to make up for it." She still claims that I am a real poet, and the book that will come out of her tutoring will be amazing.

Asher Reich, on the other hand, told me last night that everyone thinks I'm sephardic because of my name, and that I can ride with the sephardic wave. Ashkenazi is out and Sephardic is in.

I say this while Aryeh Deri is still under interrogation at the police station for bribery and corruption and many say the 'witch hunt' is because he is not Ashkenazi.

May 30, 2017

Hag Sameach

We did everything but blintzes and now we're going to be away for a while. Msybe off maybe online. Bear with me

June 2, 2017

Greetings from America. We have been here 25 hours and have seen 3 families of nieces, one brother and sister-in-law, one museum, and have plans for this evening with one more niece and family. We managed one pharmacy as well. And all this despite the fact that we stood in line for over one and a half hours to get into this country. Although i'm a citizen my husband didn't think he deserved citizenship long ago and therefore tortures me by making me part of a refugee society. We stood with patient Tibetan monks, giggling vietnamese teenagers, tourists, and refugees.

no sign of emma lazarus at the entrance.

June 3, 2017

Even though we are with people who know something of Israel, we are constantly being asked to dispell stories. "Are there attacks every day in the streets?" "Do you know any Arabs?" "Do your people love Trump?" and, from a six year old, "Can you swim in the Dead Sea?" It does little good to give answers in small bytes. "See all the medication I take? My pharmacist wears a hijab." "My neighbors are holocaust survivors, middle class people, and Arab students." Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I am overwhelmed by beauty - the Passaic Falls, Sleepy Hollow, country roads - and yet i'm equally overwhelmed by the hunger to destroy the beauty of the world. London tonight and the two terrorist attacks surprises me only because i can't understand what makes a person destroy such amazing things.

June 4, 2017

Spending the day with an expert on violence made me think even more about it. is it innate - like Sharon Old's "Rite of Passage" , and the civilization we learn just masks the truth? Now it is coming out, oozing from the cracks of society, all this hatred and murder. I was thinking how we used to love shows with jury trials, where justice is somehow done, and now we like the spy programs where you never know who is behind the evil being done. it's more like the world we're living in.

June 5, 2017

Today is Ezi's birthday and I woke up with a headache, sore throat, and stuffy nose. So here we are in the middle of a forest, with rain forecast for the whole day, and a dinner planned for the evening. How do you celebrate a day of such significance? Will find a way.

What a great day it was. One thing I discovered among the many many things I learned today was that Matisse had a thing for Jewish women. Maybe I've become racist. When I saw the little oriental tables I suddenly realized the oriental influence of Matisse's wonderful designs, the 'mashrabiyot' the screens, and it made so much sense.

The oriental women fascinated Matisse - as they had fascinated Delacroix and others, but the Jewish ones seem more ready to bare themselves and be the models for artists.


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