Tel Aviv Diary - November 24-28, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 25, 2014

November 24, 2014

I am a "friend of the Cameri theater" but last night I was not feeling friendly. Usually when they redo old favorites they try to invest them with contemporary meaning, but this production of "The Streetcar Named Desire" did to Tennessee Williams what Stanley did to Blanche - robbed her of her last shred of beauty and artifice without giving her one thing in return.

The audience was enthusiastic and I applauded for the actors, but as we were walking out I met a friend who said immediately "I hated it." and I felt just a bit better. Not good, but less isolated.

There was much more real action going on in Sachnin where Beitar was playing against the home team. Arabs vs. Jews. with a lot of violence and racist name-calling. It doesn't matter that the manager of Sachnin is Jewish and it was only soccer.This confusion and emotion is much more true to our situation than a play where a Turk is named Stanley and Blanche is Russian..

Tomorrow is "international violence against women day." We have so much violence here in the past weeks that to focus on women seems almost trivial. The idea of the necessity of taking back the night is true for every one. Women are more in need of protection against violence but on the other hand women are more capable of understanding the need for organization AGAINST violence. And we have the responsibility as well.

Went to a concert of Shlomi Shabbat. Two organizations (Eliyah for blind children and the organization for training seeing eye dogs) were raising money for seeing eye dogs. Some of the people in the audience were blind and some were deaf and we were all dancing. As a poet I must admit that the lyrics are the dumbest - but as a musician I cannot but admire the professionalism. He really got to me.

November 25, 2014

I've been shopping for a dress to wear for my granddaughter's bat mitzvah in the States. It's stupid because i think i have all the clothes I want and I can get everything much cheaper online. But I wanted to get something wintery and happy and dressy and classic and all that. So I asked Ezi to take a quick trip around the posh shops in the Ramat Aviv mall. Not only did I not find anything suitable, but the 'almost rans' all had pricetags over 1500 shekel. 400 dollars for a skirt! $500 for a simple black dress? I don't get it. I haven't gone over $100 ever.

November 26, 2014

Even our cleaner is sick. Every other person I know is ill - changes in weather make you susceptible. And I just saw the situation in Gaza with the flooding and the lack of electricity and the terrible building damages still not repaired and that in itself made me ill. The weather has been horrible for the unsheltered.

Yes we do have responsibility there too.

I just signed a petition against the new law that is being pushed through the knesset. Wow. Lot of good that will do.

I surprised myself by hesitating for a moment, not because of my reconsideration of my opposition, but by the sudden fear that somewhere this will be held against me. What if I'm up for a prize and I don't get it because of my objections to the government? Well, I don't want any prize from a government that smacks of racism. I want to be part of a democracy.

And check out Gershon Baskin's take on it here.

November 28, 2014

Every time I go to an assisted living home I am amazed at how self contained it seems. How much of the past of Tel Aviv it contains, and how current and up to date the occupants are. How much we could learn from them if we listened. Sometimes we think the past is no longer relevant, and sometimes it isn't - but always it is fascinating.

My friends who live in the Carmel market are moving away. Omer and I watched the sellers cleaning up their booths and then throwing the leftovers in the middle of the road. Then the steamshovel pushing all the waste down the road. We didn't stay for the hoses this time.

This is place where the cats used to chase the rats but now they're so sated they leave the rats alone.

I will miss visiting there.

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