Tel Aviv Diary October 9=13, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - October 9-13, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 9, 2008

hatima tova

I sat in the dark and listened to my neighbor chanting 'Neilah' and then began to hear the cars on the street. The silence of the day that I treasured so much was broken. Then there was a bit of rain, and then a warplane, then a grumpy baby.

Then I turned on the TV and the BBC was also grumpy. Even though things seem a bit better, the tone is grumpier than it's been all week. I wonder to what extent the press hasn't been responsible for bursting the bubble.

My goodness! I'm grumpy too! Time for dinner.

With the end of the fast came violence in Acre. A few weeks ago when we were there I mentioned the strained atmosphere in the shuk. We looked for reasons (or excuses) but didn't get what was really going on. I still don't know. But the reasons for the violence right now is palpable in this picture. And its not because of the fish.

Not that I think the Arabs are to blame. Its the intimacy, the intrusion on personal space. Apparently the present crisis started when an Arab car was stoned for driving on Yom Kippur. Now that's an invasion of the privacy of the Arabs?

Oh, and that warplane I mentioned before -it's in the news already - a strange aircraft entered our air space.

Notice that there are only family members in the photo. That's the way it was wherever we went - everyone moved away from us.

October 11, 2008

Disappeared to Maaleh Hachamisha where a conference from the Writers' Union kept us occupied for Shabbat.I thought we'd have internet, but when it cost money, I decide to wait.

Maale Hachamisha is a religious hotel, so they had automatic elevators, the possibility of automatic lights out and on, and numerous other shabbat gimmicks that helped create the atmosphere of the sabbath. It isn't intrusive, so if you're not religious, you don't feel cramped, and if you are it is very convenient.

But I was there to hear about literature, and to talk about poetry, and read some poems and hear poetry, probably because I haven't been around writers enough lately. I liked hearing poems in different languages, from different cultures, and I found even the unknown writers fascinating - intelligent and sensitive (No irony there).

One of the main questions raised is the richness of the language and the responsibility of the writer.

In the background - in the corridors - the main subject was the financial losses, the fear of unemployment, the terror of depression. As it is most Israeli live on the edge, with no savings, and little back-up.

October 12, 2008

Most of us don't really seem to understand what is going on with the world stock markets. I think this is the reason why some people think it is a world Jewish conspiracy and/or an Arab plan to take over the universe. It's all ignorance. So here is the most logical explanation I've heard.

I think I'm more troubled by Acre than the stock market. I know that one problem is local and the other is universal, But one is immediately concerned with the lives of human beings. Tonight we were 'jogging' in the neighborhood and the german shepherd who has attacked us came by. I scared him off by being very aggressive, but because I was thinking of Acre my mind immediately made the association of what it is like to live in a place where those around you want to kill you. or just don't like you. Not that one race is me and the other the dog. Both peoples are me - feeling the fear of the other.

(Now I'm going to get someone complaining that I'm being unfair to the dog)

October 13, 2008

Our friends the Magneses live in Brooklyn on the river. This is how they painted their house:

Erev Sukkot. Many people i know have overdosed already on holidays. It's great to see family and friends, but it's so hard to be out of touch with reality for so long, especially with the world the way it is right now.

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