Tel Aviv Diary - April 9-13 2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 9, 2011

I finally heard from Laura in Japan, Laura with whom I grew up. Her letter from Kobe is earth-shaking in its detail of panic and fear.
again.this is the scale: 1 ° if u r new to earthquakes,u say nothing cause u think its you. 2 ° u question &ask what was that to someone who might know. 3 ° u stand up,look around and ask urself what u should do. 4 ° u dont really have time for that, but run to hold up anything that might fall on a child or helpless person nearby. 5 ° if a P°wave, theres time betwn the perpendicular,raisethewinning¥game¥coachlift into the air,and the coming rocking/swaying S°wave,a few seconds,to move to a `safer` place.Ha!!! 6`7 ° After the P°wave and ur house slamming backto earth like a splintering crack of misplaced lightning,S°waves come from many directions at the same time, coming from adjacent right angles,& opposing180ßclashes. BUT with all the destruction,there r small miracles amid everything smashed,crushed,bashed,mindlessly topsy°turvy and tangled: a tall,slender°necked,one°flower vase with its one stem, a bloomed and blowsy rose welcoming me to praise it, an awe°ful event. From 7 to 8 to 9...I was on the edge over 8.It`s really hard to describe this situation,with its geometrically expanded dimensions.As if we,a dot in a plane on an invisible piece of paper,could stretch ° a word we couldnt understand,and an action we couldnt do or imagine ° were forced to confront the 2nd,3rd,or 4th dimensions. If one is sleeping,it is a dream into death.If one survives,it is a dream into a nightmare.If one is awake,it is the nightmare come true RIGHT THERE. Last night was a 6`7 .We thought `victim` was over and we had changed gears into `surviver/volunteer/rebuilder`. I guess we were wrong.Back tothe first beginning again of no water & no electricity.The plate pops,it pulls,itpushes:nothing`s over and the earth`s not finished with us yet.

What more needs to be said to get people to do everything they can to help in any way possible?

So when I got a letter from Meshi-Zahav whose Israel ZAKA volunteers spent the last week in Kamaishi, Japan to assist in rescue and recovery of its earthquake-tsuanmi victims while also providing humanitarian assistance to survivors. These Israeli volunteers were working side-by-side with Iranian volunteers. They need more donations you can make here

April 10, 2011

April 11, 2011

All I know about it hospitals right now - and if I knew more I'd be happier.

Do not think, however, that this prevents me from living a Tel Aviv life, and sipping lambruscia on the balcony of Pappa's.

April 12,2011

Between doctors' appointments today we bought presents for the afikomen. They are everywhere. The streets of Ramat Gan, the shopping centers that are adjacent to the hospitals - all are filled with overpriced gifts that seem to indicate that this holiday too has become a commercial affair.

But we still have the seder, and now that I know Ezi won't be hospitalized for it, we're beginning to arrange its production. There's so much more to a seder than meets the eye.

April 13, 2011

What I usually start out with is the text of the Hagada, which I punctuate with photographs of the guests, and pictures of seders gone by. A few plagues here and there, a menu, and a joke or two, and the whole atmosphere is different. That's what I hope to be doing tomorrow. Better a bit late than not at all. I've also got to get a better seder plate. Mine doesn't do the holiday justice - I don't want to buy one, but create it with a big glass tray, ceramic paint on the bottom and battery lighting beneath,so each part will light up when we talk about it. Then there's the business of the hand-washing, a punch bowl, towels and wipes on a tea trolley. That, the plastic plagues that we throw on the table, and a couple of high chairs, ought to complete the technical aspects. Then we can work on the menu.

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