Tel Aviv Diary - April 6-10, 2012 Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 6, 2012

We're off to our seder in a few

so I wanted to send to all of you
a happy pesach if you're a jew

if not there's no joy
because today's not so great if you're a goy
but for Christians Sunday's looking yummy
and for Moslems I hope you get to make some money
especially from the tourists and pilgrims in Nazareth
and now I'm stuck because this is the first draft and it's online and i'll never find something to rhyme with Nazareth and I haven't even begun to talk about Jerusalem
or Bethlehem.

April 7, 2012

For a really good seder song, see Hana Robina sing Karev Yom

Our seder wasn't like that. It was nice but not dramatic. Ezi led it and did a wonderful educational job, but our kids are too young to appreciate more than a few minutes of it at a time, so it goes something like: 'Why is this night different?' "Because we were slaves, but now we're free. Let's eat."

April 8, 2012

Hello? Hello? is anyone in the country? Even in the hospital there was no one waiting in line for the doctor. You can't find a government office that will answer their phone. And despite the fact that everyone's off on holiday our Minister of Interior was right there at the edge of the fray to declare Guenther Grass a persona non grata. Why oh why wasn't HE on vacation? Although I disagree with that poem, and maybe I disagree with him, come on...

But to return to the point, even if almost no-one was in the country today, we were so afraid of traffic jams we sat home as much as we could today. Still recovering, I'm scared of getting hit in my face and don't let anyone near me - this is not good when you're in Israel during holidays. The experience of Israel demands intimacy, and if you can't allow others to get close, you can't enjoy anything. Fortunately the pain won't last.

April 9, 2012

Q: Where can you get Hameitz in Tel Aviv on Passover? A: Everywhere! It's worth it to the restaurants to risks the fines for serving bread on Passover because everyone is out on the streets and eating everything they can get their hands on. Especially bread and cakes. The feeling of religious restriction is so great that eating forbidden food has become an enormous pleasure. I've had two encounters in cafes today and I'm on my way to the third - and wherever we go there are people leaning on their right sides and fulfilling the duties of a non-observant Jew on the holiday. Do they know what they are doing and why? I doubt it.

April 10, 2012

Go to sleep already! Nothing's happening tonight. Everyone's all partied out and the streets are asleep. Maybe after midnight things will wake up, but a survey of the city revealed no traffic jams, no over-crowded restaurants and no more than a few girls in black stockings and high heels tripping down the boulevard. Nevertheless that feeling I talked about yesterday, of an undercurrent of protest, is everywhere being felt. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it is a palpable feeling in Tel Aviv, that we're not going to let even our own holidays be foisted on us.

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