Tel Aviv Diary - April 14-18 2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 14, 2011

Some poets discuss Passover and stuff in the pages of the Forward today. I'm one of them.

April 15, 2011

I didn't want to go shopping - it must be crowded because it's before the holiday, I thought, but when I got to the supermarket, it was quiet. There were a few hysterical friends of mine buying for Passover, but apparently most of us have learned the Passover truth that one buys in advance and cooks only if no one has extended an invitation. When we got to Home Depot, however, the place was overrun. The quantity of imitation housewares at exhorbitant prices going into enormous shopping carts was overwhelming. I may have said this before about Home Depot - but they have more garbage than any other store I know. They also carry tools, however, and Ezi always needs new tools.

When I ask my American friends to bring me all kinds of little things when they visit, they often raise an eyebrow. Can't you get it in Israel? Not really, I answer apologetically. Clothes for my age, shoes in my size, medicines for my diseases, etc. are hard to come by if available at all. And last night Trinny and Suzanna proved me right. They had come all the way from England to dress the natives and discovered that there are natives for whom there is nothing to wear. The look they gave the racks of clothes was so familiar - that shame and disgust - it made me feel better about not finding things here - about hating shopping.

April 16, 2011

Celebrated my mother's birthday last night (she would have been 106) at the bar at Pappa's. She would have been very happy with the conversation we had with the guy sitting next to us - a guy who come back to Israel after thirty years abroad. The first thing she would have loved is that he has not been able to wipe the smile off his face since he arrived two years ago. The second thing she would have loved is the sense of a constant party that goes on at Pappa's. Otherwise, she would have been astounded that it is so flagrantly not kosher. It wouldn't have helped if we took her around and showed her that the whole city is traif - especially on Friday night - and revels in it.

At night, the image of Vittorio Arrigoni kept returning to me, that activist who was so happy in Gaza and believed with all his heart that noone would hurt him there. Imagine his last moments, his feelings, his confusion, his pain. How terrible his death.

And now I hear that we are being blamed for his death - what utter nonsense!

April 17, 2011

I don't believe what I'm watching. It's one of those faking an identity programs and Igal Mishinski, a dancer, has got to learn in 3 weeks how to be a border patrol soldier who has to deal with terrorists. His desire to treat potential terrorists as equals without making them feel humiliated is dangerous in this job and he finds himself in situations where his 'humanity' threatens his own life. We in Tel Aviv don't usually have the need to treat others as anything but friends, although once in my life I had an encounter where I was forced to turn violent. Some guy was chasing my 10 year old son, accusing him of stealing something or turning over something. It all happened in a minute. My son had not been out of my sight for a second, so anything he might have been blamed for was absurd. Anyway I found myself leaping between them, ready to strike the rather large man. I only had to shout three or four sentences before he disappeared. Good thing too, because I had so much adrenalin in me I could have killed a platoon.

April 18, 2011

If every person is supposed to feel like he too experienced the exodus from slavery to freedom, then the idea of including the photographs of every person participating in the seder in the Hagaddah makes sense. I really liked that experience, yet this year in particular I kept thinking about those still in the process - those we don't think of.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home