Tel Aviv Diary Oct 24-28, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

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ıTel Aviv Diary - from October 29 - November 2, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

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ıOctober 28, 2004

While we were waiting to hear about Arafat last night, we went to a celebration for the New Keshet Magagine.

Now the renewed journal is wonderful - As in the 50's 60's and 70's when it was helping to create Israeli literature, with its canaanite orientation, it is refreshing and exciting under the editorship of that amazing Aharon Amir.

But the evening was deadly. As someone who has trouble sitting in any audience, especially in a traditional literary evening, I am no objective judge, but 3 long lectures with almost no relief was to much for me, even though there was also a piano interlude by Assaf Sheleg, who played an interactive composition by Andre Haidu. Each lecture was fascinating, on Milosz, on the current political situation, on translating Shakespeares sonnets, but we left after the third lecture to meet someone who had been waiting for a while - two and a half hours of literature was enough.

On the other hand, there are all kinds of exciting new art going on here. Take the HaDag Nachash, that great hiphop group that even the Rolling Stone is raving about.

But on third thought, although i am crazy about Hadag hanachash, what hit home and really got me thinking all day was Ziva Shamir's discussion of the Jews as translators. She pointed out that since the Jews were usually multilingual their role as translators was often central to the spread of international culture. The names Melitz and Turgeman, ashkenazi and mizrachi names respectively, mean, as we know, translator.

How could Arafat have leukemia without all his doctors knowing? Explain that to me.

October 30, 2004

Alan Dershowitz has a good argument about voting for Kerry in the Forward.

In case I haven't repeated this - the Forward was the first place i ever published. I was 10 and it was an essay in Yiddish about my cat, with all the humor and irony which fill my life today. So the Forward is always right for me.

October 31, 2004

Couldn't find a place to park in Tel Aviv this morning - so i drove around and around the old neighborhood of neve tsedek and tel aviv south. The only problem with this was that it was so easy to get distracted and forget why i had come to this fascinating neighborhood in the first place. For example, the ethnic workers' restaurants that i never see because i always come through here at night. They are only open during the day. And there are places that i remember from years and years ago - the Yemenite who cooks his delicacies on a bunsen burner, the Persian family with their 20 chair restaurant, the kosher Rumanian restaurant that now seems to be closed, but i couldnt' tell for sure (the light changed). And in-between them all are the elegant clubs that are only open at night. I almost forgot the fashion shoot i was doing at mishmish, but they were still open 4 hours later when i got out. i think nightfall is their signal to close.

I was supposed to meet a friend coming in from Eilat this afternoon but the road was flooded and she decided to stick around another day or two. The first rain, that longed-for occasion around here, came the other day in the form of hail, floods, and we only got a few minutes here and there of real rainfall.

Why od I keep dreaming that Arafat has AIDS? Here everyone is announcing his recovery, and the image of him with the same symptoms as an old friend who died of aids years ago doesn't leave me. The big problem they say around here ... shit ... the internet doesn't seem to work at all tonight...

the computer expert - the first one who's ever been here - says we'll be okay once we get a router. in the u.s. we were told we don't need it, but the expert says things here are much more nervous, and the connections are alwaysgetting lost. that's why i haven't been able to write long entries lately - the system keeps falling.

Did i put this link up? Jerusalem Post Never mind it's gone.

An fascinating documentary has been repeated tonight on channel 8.. Danae Elon, the daughter of Beth and Amos Elon, did a documentary about her reunion with her old caregiver, an Arab man she called Moussa. Obedalla. It is a terrifying and wonderful film and i am proud it is shown here.

November 1, 2004

We have our own Halloween here. Right there, where we photographed cats only 2 weeks ago, two women and a man were torn apart by an 18 year old suicide bomber.

I walked into the grocers and saw an announcer on television. that was enough. then i saw the market in the background - the cheese store where my friends all buy their kashkeval - the ambulances that can't get in to that pedestrian area. We are all pretty trained, call all friends who might be there first, and then try to calm down.

Did Jerry's windows blow out? - it will come out later - this isn't the time to call for that.

The seriously injured are in Ichilov - who knows who they are - the names even of the dead are not yet out.

Okay, so this kid leaves his home in the territories in Askar near Nablus in the morning, and within a few hours he's decapitating people in the market in Tel Aviv. So how is it that we don't want a separation - a wall? It is devastating.

The man was 65 year old Shmuel Levy. They haven't identifed the 2 women yet - either because they are in pieces and/or because they are foreign workers.

November 2, 2004

U.S. elections, Arafat's health, the bombing in the market yesterday - this what is in the news here today and they are all confusing issues. It looks like Kerry is winning, like Arafat is getting better, and ...hmm... like we'll continue to be murdered in the streets of what is supposed to be undisputed territory, Tel Aviv.

I will be spending some time in the streets tomorrow - in the war zone - and i'm terrified. But i'm going.

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