Tel Aviv Diary April 19-23, 2020, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 19-23, 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 19-23, 2020

April 19, 2020

April 19, 2020

i don't want to talk to friends any more. especially not old ones. they're so pessimistic and negative it simply drags me down. i am not there - and if it's true we old people have to stay home for a year, we'll probably live one year more. So talk to me only if you know what you're talking about and not if you're speculating on dreadful things. We've got Holocaust Day coming up and it should remind us that there are worse things than staying home and washing your groceries.

there are better things too. i'm looking forward to listening to my second-grader granddaughter reading a chapter of a book every morning. she reads as badly as i did at that age, until one day i realized that words can come together to do amazing things.

Also I am looking forward to a day without zoom. I'll have to do one onHolocaust Day and I spent hours today and yesterday in wonderful groups.

just a reminder about my last book

"God created women but Karen Alkalay-Gut created the poems that define them. She understands why the creation of women was the necessary step in the creation of human life. I love her humor as much as her seriousness."
--Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying

A Word in Edgewise is a super-edgy but also truly wise compilation of the unheard voices of Biblical women. Listen to Eve reminding us of "the hunger / that comes from eating," Lot's daughters not getting mad, just getting even, with a father who was prepared to give them away to rapists, Delilah "who gets a real rush/ from being on top" and is proud "to go down in history/ as irresistible," a Jezebel who craves "whatever is forbidden," a Hagar perplexed by "these monotheists." Karen Alkalay-Gut is a the top of her form in this book: truth-telling, compassionate, courageous. Read her and smile, and think yes, that's how it was, that's how it is.
--Alicia Ostriker, author of Waiting for the Light

A Word in Edgewise

April 20, 2020

there is something wonderful about exercising with the morning talk show host. it lifts my whole day to a higher dimension. But today we have to go to the dermatologist for some examinations and I'll miss it. Very sad. And yet - we ARE getting out of the house...

Big mistake - the dermatologist read Ezi's PET=CT and decided it meant Ezi had Corona. It scared him half to death and he sent us away, demanding a test. The problem is Ezi fits none of the criteria for testing, and the doctor in charge of the clinic sent him packing, but our real doctor is in charge of the internal ward of the hospital and he approved it - just to relieve the dermatologist of his need to go into quarantine. so that was my day. tomorrow Ezi gets tested and that will be that.

Meanwhile, back in the government, Benny Gantz signed the deal and the worst choice for foreign minister - Gabi Ashkenazi - shows that Bibi's technique has -won -- of picking a good person for a totally unsuitable job to make it impossible for him to succeed. Now that was so disappointing for me that the rest of the day didn't matter.

April 19, 2020

in case you've forgotten the Holocaust, here's a poem by Leyb Rubinlicht i translated last year:


That night a downy snow fell
And covered the site with a veil of white
Through the barred barrack windows
We stare at its whiteness by the glare of the fire

The Auschwitz chimneys spew out their flames
To faraway heavens in the quiet of night
The red and snow-white colors mingle together
And shimmer in the pastoral symphonic cover.

See how the symphony from that wintery night,
When flames from the crematoria united
With heaven-sent white snowy glory --
Distracted the king of demons from augmenting the agony.

I found one volume of his poems when i was trying to find out who he was. I had won the prize and could get no answers about his identity from the prizegivers. and the book was online. and this was the first poem i landed on. and i couldn't believe such a powerful poet could be totally unknown.

yes. we have a government. dayenu. maybe now we can start handling the country. maybe maybe maybe Gantz can stop Bibi from continuing to do terrible things to us.

April 20, 2020

Ezi's corona test was negative. it arrived at 11 at night and we wrote the dermatologist right away. He was relieved - he was glad Ezi was well but he also didn't want to go into isolation for 2 weeks. We were relieved too - mostly because we really like that dermatologist and we didn't want him to be distressed because of our visit. we still have to find out what the hell the "crazy paving" in his lungs means. and after our morning exercising we washed the vegetables delivered, organized the arc 27 zoom launch, vacuumed, and it was already time to cook lunch. i'll get to the email and whatsapp later and go to a zoom shiva after that. Talk to you later.

Oh, did you want to register for the zoom? it's here

we took an afternoon walk with a gradson - 2 meters away with masks - and discovered all kinds of plants and flowers he hadn't seen in at least a year. He hasn't been out in months and nothing grew then. He is pale. thin and white. and totally out of shape. we are all out of shape. we raced and i came home sweating and shaking. it will take us months to get back into a normal condition, but i'm sure we will. it's so much like a tiny sample of post holocaust life. i remember the children who came to us after the holocaust. pale and thin - unable to move. until we could play ball it took a long time, and there were two sisters from Rumania with whom we could not communicate in any other way.

i can't wait to play ball with my grandchildren.

April 23, 2020

Of course we''re all going mad - in an inhuman situation we find ways to reconstruct our humanity, to try to be kind, to connect, to share. And yet we are completely involved in ourselves and have stopped so much of our communication. there is so little to talk about. we don't want to hear each other complain, and we don't have much new and/or good to say.

on the other hand i wrote this in Hebrew (with Ezi's corrections) and here it is:

Rony Sommek reads my poem in Hebrew

the poem is about seeing into the future in this situation - how limited our information is..

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