Tel Aviv Diary Oct 19-23, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

‎Tel Aviv Diary - from Oct 19 - 23, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

‎October 19, 2004

Sometimes cultural misunderstanding are at the bottom of our language. Take for example the common expression in Hebrew - You say it when you've met an acquaintance twice in the street by chance: "paam shlishit, glida," - "third time, ice cream" or, the next time we meet this way we have to share something nice to eat. We say it all the time and with great glee. But apparently this harks back to the British Mandate and is a mis-hearing of "Next time, I'll scream!"

Think of how much more true this mid-hearing, mistranslation is true for warring neighbors. That's why the coexistential efforts are so important.Check out the Israeli-Palestinian Radio Station

October 20, 2004

So we're off on a civil war - wonder why it took so long. But the real cause of it is Sharon, of course. Had he not created the settlements, brought these people here, encouraged them to believe in its permanence, and then turned against them, it might not have happened. What a guy - and what do we have in his place? Bibi? - Sometimes i remember that i first came here because it enabled me to forget i was jewish.

I am sure i wrote about the nursing kitten last week. Did I write about my neighbor, the schizophrenic Auschwitz grad, who caught me photographing the kitten nursing the male cat? She came upon us and suddenly saw them, and screamed: "What are they doing?" I explained. "That's perverted!" she screamed, even louder -" No it's just affection," said I. "We do all kinds of things for affection." "Yes," she said, "just not to be alone..."

So maybe that's me - the perverted kitten - in this crazy country - just not to be alone.

There I was, looking at the headlines on the newstand and eating a crembo (in traditional fashion - chocolate first and melty egg-white marshmallow, then cookie - regulation marshmallow on nose), I suddenly remembered the story of my brother - who bought a U.S.S.R. journal at the newstand in Rochester at the age of 11 - and my fugitive father warned him, "They watch the newstands!"

After I clear away the remains of dinner and the visits of the grandchildren, and am just getting ready to settle down to work, the phone rings. It is Shimon Peres and I am not surprised. He's finally acknowledging those books I sent him, I think. But no, it's a recording, asking all Maarach members (yes, the secret is out - i am a politrukit--) to join in the demonstration monday night in front of the knesset for the pullout from Gaza.

Once I got over the shock, I was enthralled.

October 21, 2004

Here's what I got in the mail today: הקנאים, אשר הביאו חורבן על העם הזה בעבר, מאיימים לעשות זאת שוב בהציגם עצמם כדוברי ההשגחה העליונה עלי אדמות וכנציגיה היחידים של הציונות.... הרוב הדומם יושב בביתו, רוטן תחת שפמו אכול זעם ומבכה את אזלת ידו. אנו אוטמים את עינינו ואזנינו למעשים שלא שיערנו בנפשנו כי יעשו בשמנו וממשיכים לשוט בעונג על ספינת השוטים. יום ההכרעה קרב - האם המדינה הזו תרד לחלוטין מהפסים או שתחזור אליהם... אם חפצי חיים אנו, אסור יותר להבליג ולשתוק ולתת לקיצוניים לנהל את חיינו. ביום הקריאה לא יושבים יותר בבית ויוצאים לרחובות !! המדינה הזו חייבת לחזור אל הפסים בגבולות שפויים !! עשו לפחות את המעט והפיצו ברשת

What I don't get is what we're supposed to do -

So we took the kids and grandkids to Safari, where i relate better.

I used to drag my kids to the Safari all the time - Now I see that the idea of the protected environment and the relationships that develop as a result of the freedom from the pressures of survival have always been a fascination for me. I thought Israel was like that when I first came. And I believe it could really become that way if all of us work together.

October 22, 2004

Complaints are coming in from friends about my silence about Beit Levick and the amazing cultural melting pot we experienced there on Tuesday Night. Rony Someck with his Baghdadi flavor reads his poetry and is translated into Yiddish by Rivka Bassman. And somehow it sounds right in Yiddish!!!

Then comes Yael Globerman, with her shy Tel Avivi eroticism.

And then Thin Lips - poems by Rony as well. Pictures by Shani are here on Yishai Sommer's site. This one is a good example because it shows the busts of the yiddish writers looking down at us.

Among other things we did a poem by Yehuda Halevi that Bialik had translated to Yiddish, Shir HaYam - Yam Lid. It can be seen in english transliteration on the lied and art song page. Last time i did a sonnet by shakespeare to the heavy beat and the band can follow on any text in that song. Yam Lid is a sonnet.

The idea of mixing everything up is Roi's principle of music and my principle of life.

The movement of Shuvi seems to be gaining power. Check it out.

October 23, 2004

I actually sent a letter through Shuvi asking the Palriament members to back the disengagement program. I wish we had the luxury of asking for a plan, a peace program, and i doubt whether our requests will mean anything to anyone. Nevertheless, it is the least we can do.

Yehuda Halevi: I can't find a translation so here's what i can do at the moment:

I have forgotten all my loved ones
I have forsaken my own home
I have given myself up to the sea
Carry me sea, to mother's lap.
And you dear western wind, bring my ship to that other shore

that my winged heart, has long been seeking to reach...

We made a dash to the Shfaim shopping center today - to get some toys to keep grandchildren and cousins busy this afternoon. We were careful, made it there by opening time, grabbed what we needed and ran off, and yet by the time we were checking out, the crowds were everywhere, people who work too late to shop during the week and families looking for sabbath diversion. It was impossible to move.

If I had planned right I could have spent the morning at the beach like yesterday - a mirror sea, sand, hummous and chips on the water. This is the best time of the year for beach - with the gentle sun, warm water, few people.

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