Tel Aviv Diary April 24-28, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 24-28, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 24-28, 2020

April 24, 2020

Rony Sommek reads my poem in Hebrew

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

My site doesn't seems to be working and i can't find out how to fix it. it will probably fix itself in the next few hours

It did, but now I've forgotten what I was going to say.

It was something about everyone going crazy - one of my favorite writers long ago was Samuel Johnson, who warned against being alone too much -" "Solitude is dangerous to reason, without being favourable to virtue: pleasures of some sort are necessary to the intellectual as to the corporeal health; and those who resist gaiety, will be likely for the most part to fall a sacrifice to appetite; for the solicitations of sense are always at hand, and a dram to a vacant and solitary person is a speedy and seducing relief. Remember that the solitary mind is certainly luxurious, probably superstitious, and possibly mad: the mind stagnates for want of employment, grows morbid, and is extinguished like a candle in foul air."

I'm not alone - but too many of my friends and relatives are - and are losing the ability to verify their thoughts without others - as if we're all floating in space without any idea of what direction is, much less where to navigate."

the lockdown is easing up - as a result to some extent of the dangers of isolation. hoe can people orient themselves without the soundboard of others? How can they feel the borders of themselves unless they touch other bodies? Even a lonely cat has adopted us and takes our walks with us. she won't let herself be touched, but she needs company.

April 25, 2020

I'd be dancing around rejoicing that Litzman is no longer minister of health but he's going to do even more damage as the building minister he's going to have so many more opportunities to steal. It seems like that there are no people Bibi has appointed that are crime free. and the judges who will be seeing through Bibi's trial will see to it that he gets off.

April 26, 2020

Champing at the bit - that's the only phrase I can think of that illustrates the general feeling about the lockdown. Even our doctor ripped off her mask in the middle of our discussion and declared she can't bear the inhumanity of it all. We were having a discussion about statistics and I was explaining why I thought the way we have been using statistics to determine our behavior is all wrong. Testing, for example, cannot tell you what percentage of the population has corona unless everyone is tested - because the only people who are tested are those suspected of having corona. She added that there are too many other people dying of other untreated diseases because the attention was diverted from them to corona. so people have strokes, heart attacks, untreated diabetes, etc. There are so many health problems that are not immediately fatal but left untreated can become serious that the effects of corona will eventually have to factor in. I'm sure my statistics teacher from the university would be surprised at my interest in this subject, now, but perhaps you didn't know that i even studied statistics, so i will relate the story. It will help you to judge my believability. I was so sure I would be a psychologist in college that i took every course i could, even the required statistics course (required because the University of Rochester at that time was more focussed on experimental psychology than any application). But in the middle of my progress I was wooed by the English department fo join an honors program in literature. it meant small seminars instead of large lectures, papers instead of tests, a larger stipend and a job as an assistant instead of some of my part-time positions in social work (teaching folk dancing to seniors, talking with trouble teenagers, teaching Hebrew school. i couldn't resist. So I was paying little attention in statistics class and failing the pop quizzes one after another. At the end of the semester I approached the professor and asked him what I could do to pass, because i couldn't understand what the basis of the formulas were. How do you understand where the numbers come from? How do you know what x really means. "Study your other courses," he said, But i need a good average in psych, not only English. So I turned to my brother - who looked over the book and remarked "See, there are basically 5 formulas here you have to memorize. That's it." I memorized them in a week and aced the exam. But i have never forgotten that the basis of statistics is where the numbers come from, not what formulas you can memorize in a week.

April 27, 2020

of all the terrible days in Israel, memorial day is the worst. and in corona days when people are not supposed to go to the cemetery, it is worse.

April 28, 2020

Today was Memorial Day, followed by all the excitement of Independence Day - with fireworks and everything. but everyone was home. the people who rented the house across the street are celebrating Ramadan - just the four of them, This used to be such a monocultural neighborhood, but the original owners of the neighborhood across the street died off and the kids are all into selling the old homestead. There is a house a couple blocks away that had the most beautiful flowers - with multicolor bougainvillea surrounding the entrance, and the most amazing geraniums. And then one day I noticed the garden had gone to seed and a for sale sign was on the fence. that's when i planned to go in and picked some geraniums for my window. but by the time i got back there with a scissors i could see other people had moved in and even though i couldn't see who they were i didn't dare go into the garden. i told my grandson as we passed a year later how much i yearned for those geraniums and how i planned to come at night at steal them. he is nine and very logical - "Why not ask?" so today i saw a man in the garden - Haredi - and i asked if i could cut a few flowers. "I'm just renting here..." he was very hesitant, but then he agreed, and I blessed him saying that he had saved me from having to steal them. and now i made a mess of mandelbroidt and if i have the nerve I'll bring it to the neighbors for Ramadan.

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