Tel Aviv Diary - April 4-8, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 4-8, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 4, 2013

And it was morning and it was evening the seventh day. No, the eighth day. No, ninth. I have run out of dumb programs and am just beginning to get enough energy to read. This is an improvement.

But the main contact I have with Tel Aviv is the phone arguments I've been conducting with the supermarket. The poor girls who fill out the internet orders never really know about the products, but after this long passover holiday they are really in a mess. The supermarket bakeries just can't catch up, and the butchers seem to have run out of chicken already even though every one has been grilling steaks in the parks. But what drove me mad this week in my bedridden state was not just that I couldn't get the ingredients to make chicken soup, or that I couldn't get out to enjoy the sharav weather we've been having and buy really fresh food, but that the supermarket was so overwhelmed it took three days for them to call me back so I could get credit on all the wrong things they sent me.

Tell me I need a life.

I know. I'm getting better and by the weekend I'll be able to get back to my life. And I'm happier that not all that much is happening in the world - I don't believe N Korea can bomb NY.

April 5, 2013

Are they our enemies or our friends? Many people in our neighborhood have organized to make sure the ultra-religious groups who have moved into our neighborhood don't take over. A nursery school I think I wrote about a few years ago is one example. It seemed like the most attractive one, because it was the least expensive by far. Like the others it took the children from 8-4 and seemed to offer the same educational program, but when I burst in the second time I visited, the infants were being changed and cared for while listening to piped in music about the coming of the Messiah. We chose a different nursery, and I understand that this one was closed down for operating a private nursery on municipal property.

But today, as we carefully ventured out to the nearest strip mall in Ramat Aviv G, the entrance to the park was dominated by one table of Chabad, reminding people to buy candles to honor the dead, and another table at the other end for Tfillin. I was getting ready to be upset at the way they seemed to cloud the happy atmosphere of shoppers and people meeting for coffee or lunch before the brief weekend. But then I passed a couple of religious guys with a drum and a guitar gathering a crowd to sing songs for the sabbath - the crowd wasn't religious, but singing together as families was a communal, familial act, and partook only of joy and community. What's better, shopping or singing?

April 7, 2013

Whatever made me add a ten agorot coin to the payment I made to the grocers at the Hungarian village of Ketheley for my cough drops I will never know for sure. She examined the coin and then passed it to her husband, who looked too at something he had never seen. At last he said, "You from Israel?" and I nodded, proudly. Maybe it was not smart to identify us as Jewish in the middle of a town not unlike those that had decimated millions of Jews. But I keep thinking of how much power I had in that coin, how much the fact of Israel gave me strength.

Tonight is the eve of Holocaust Day.

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