Tel Aviv Diary Oct 4-8, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from Oct 4 - 8, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 4, 2004

It was way back then, in 74, when i felt for the first time a blood kinship with Palestinian-Arabs. I've written about this before, the sense that the Palestinians were the unexiled Jews, the ones the Romans kept here to till the land, to keep the place going.

Third grandchild, first grandson, born this morning. 10 pounds plus. At the moment no trace in his face of Ezi, but a heroic nature nevertheless.

In the excitement I parked in the further underground lot at the hospital and found myself in a shopping center with exits to different hospital buildings. How strange to see a sign for the maternity hospital next to a fast food stand or a high fashion store. And yet it all seems to work together, and the supermarket, under the same roof as the hospital, is one of the best equipped in the country.

October 5, 2004

for some strange reason i dont want to talk about the kassams today or the Iranian threat to Israel. im more interested in lullabys. Now Jewish lullabys are very very strange affairs. Not that Rockaby Baby is a real treat for kiddies. But here are a few examples. Mordechai Gebirtig wrote one of my favorite in Yiddish, literally untranslatable, but totally understandable in its human sentiment.

Yankele

shlouff je nu mein yankele main shainer
go to sleep my lovely Yankele
di aigelekh di shvartzinke makh zu
close your little black eyes.
a yingele vouss hot shoyn alle tzeindelekh
A boy who has all his teeth
muz nokh di mamme zingen ailuli
still needs his mother to sing a lullaby
a yingele vouss hot shoyn alle tzeindelekh
muz nokh di mamme zingen ailuli

a yingele vouss hot shoyn alle zeindelekh
a boy who has all his teeth already
und vet mit mazel bald in chaider gayn
and with luck will soon be in school
und lernen vet er khumesh and gemorre
learning bible and gemorrah
zol vainen ven di mamme vigt im ain
should still cry when his mother cradles him?
in lernen vet er khumesh and gemorre
zol vainen ven di mamme vigt im ain

a yingele vouss vakst a talmid khoukhem
a child growing up as a wise scholar
und a geniter soykher aukh tzuglaikh
and a talented merchant as well
a yingele a kluger khoussen boukher
a child, a smart marriageable young man
zol ligen azoy nas vi in a taikh
should be lying in bed as wet as in a lake?
a yingele a kliger khoussen boukher
zol ligen azoy nas vi in a taikh

nu shlouf je mir main kluger choussen boukher
so sleep my smart groom
dervail liegstu in vigele by mier
in the meantime youre in my cradle
svet kosten nokh fil mir und tattes treren
it will cost many tear for me and your father
bizvannent svet a mensch araus foun dier
before a mensch emerges from you
svet kosten nokh fil mir und tattes treren
bizvannent svet a mensch araus foun dier

Notice the emphasis on the necessity of bringing up the child, the responsibility of the parent, the guilt of the child.

Heres one in Ladino;

DURME DURME
SLEEP SLEEP

Durme, durme
mi alma donzella
durme, durme
sin ansia y dolor
durme, durme
sin ansia y dolor.
Heq tu sclavo tanto dezea
ver tu sueño con grande amor
ver tu sueño con grande amor.
Hay dos años que sufre mi alma
por ti, joya, mi linda dama
por ti, joya, mi linda dama.
Siente, siente al son de mi guitarra
siente, hermosa, mis males cantar
siente, hermosa, mis males cantar.
Sleep, sleep
My beloved maiden
Sleep, sleep
Without anxiety or sadness
Sleep, sleep
Without anxiety or pain
Here is your slave who wishes greatly
To watch over your sleep with great love
To watch over your sleep with great love
For two years my soul is suffering
For you, my jewel, my lovely lady
For you, my jewel, my lovely lady
Listen, listen to my guitar
Listen, beautiful lady, as I sing my trials to sing
Listen, beautiful lady, as I sing of my trials

no wonder so many of my friends are insomniac. The Hebrew one that comes to mind is however by far the worst:


LAYLA LAYLA NIGHT TIME
Layla layla
haru'ach noshevet
Layla layla homa hatzameret
Layla layla kochav mezamer
Numi numi kabi et haner
Numi numi kabi et haner
Layla layla
Numi numi kabi et haner
Layla layla itzmi et enayich
Layla layla baderech elayich
Layla layla rachvu chamushim
Numi numi shlosha parashim
Numi numi shlosha parashim
Layla layla Numi numi shlosha parashim
Layla layla echad haya teref
Layla layla sheni met bacherev
Layla layla veze shenotar
Numi numi et shmech lo zachar
Numi numi et shmech lo zachar
Layla layla Numi numi et shmech lo zachar

Laila, laila, haruach goveret
Laila, laila, homa ha tzameret
Laila, laila, rak at mechaka,
Numi, numi, haderech reika

Night, night - the wind is blowing
Night, night - the treetops are whispering
Night, night - a star is singing
Sleep sleep - blow out the candle
Sleep sleep - blow out the candle Night, night
Sleep sleep - blow out the candle
Night, night - close your eyes
Night, night - on the way to you
Sleep sleep - three armed horsemen
Sleep sleep - three armed horsemen
Night, night -
Sleep sleep - three armed horsemen
Night time one was eaten by a beast
Night time - the second died by the sword
Night time - And the one that remained
Go to sleep forgot your name
Go to sleep forgot your name
Night time - night time
Go to sleep forgot your name

Night, night - the wind is blowing
Night, night - the treetops are whispering
Night, night - only you are still waiting
Go to sleep, the road is empty

This one awakens the usual fears of kids, and then puts them to rest

There is also a Palestinian song that sounds like a lullaby, but is self-contained. Its on my entry last year:here.

October 6, 2004

It suddenly makes sense that Sharon's plan of disengagement is really a plan to stop any further movement towards peace, as dov weisglass seems to have revealed in haaretz this afternoon.

It makes sense that every time I hear that Sharon is bringing us closer to peace I shudder.

October 7, 2004

THIN LIPS - OCTOBER 12 - BARBY - 10:30 - CORNER OF KIBBUTZ GALUOT AND HERZL STREET, TEL AVIV - GUEST: RONY SOMMECK

One of the characteristics of today's israeli is an ostrich mentality - focussing on daily life and ignoring the really big picture. And I've become a today's israeli. demonstrations tomorrow, lectures, etc. and i'm goo-gooing a baby, rehearsing songs, doing everything to ignore the fact that 97 Palestinians have been killed this week and the rockets are still around and we're not doing much of anything about it.

the latest tragedy - Taba Hilton, Nueba - we're still counting noses but the immediate family is accounted for. One relative is not yet in place. But many many friends are there.

October 8, 2004

After a terrorist attack everyone acts strange around here. This time, when we still dont know how many people were killed, who they were, and whether well ever know, the strangeness is prominent. Cars were bumping into each other more regularly than ever and there was a hysterical twinge to the voices of many of my friends even when we talked about totally unrelated activities. For many of us, the whole night was terrifying, a hunt for missing relatives.

Think of the guy visiting Israel with his British cell phone, who heard the noise near ras-el-satan (which means satans head) and went looking for the source. He turned out to be the only connection to Israel, because Israeli cell phones dont work there. He was the one who reported the explosion, apparently, relayed names and conditions, coordinated Beduin attempts at rescue with Israeli ones, and so forth.`

On this side, many of the people spent the night on the phone, or traveling to Eilat to get direct information. Im pretty sure there were also many local Arabs there too, many from Jaffo, but will only find out tomorrow, or the day after, as the terrible news trickles out.

So far, only 3 names: Hafez Hafi, 39, from Lod; Roy Avisaf, 28, from Kfar Sava and Khalil Zeitouna 10 from Jaffa. Roy was apparently in one of my kids group of friends. A guy who loved life and travelling, he was blown up in Ras Al Satan - There will be more names. Each one is a tragedy unto itself, but the greatest tragedy is that terrorism will continue.

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