Tel Aviv Diary August 18-24, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - August 18-24, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 18, 2016

A window to the world. We got new blinds today and now can see the whole street at once. The few people who came by didn't really notice the difference but we are enthralled. One third of the window was at best covered with a plastic wall. Now we have these electric blinds that allows us to see 33% more. "Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window," says Nick Carraway. And I always thought that his misunderstanding of Gatsby comes out in these his first sentences. If you look out at life from a single window you see only your neighborhood.

But this window has shown me many worlds. Two examples: one day I look out because i hear bells, and there is a shepherd with his sheep passing by. One day I look out because i hear a big boom and leaning out the window i seem a cloud of black smoke - the car of a gangster blown up with him inside.

So this window and its expanded view means something more to me than just a little more of the street.

August 19, 2016

The political is the personal. Here's an example from before my second hip operation, when one leg was over an inch longer than the other:

It is a gorgeous day
I make my way
to the shoemaker
in the store
next door to where
a terrorist attack
took place last week

If he canít fix the discrepancy
in my uneven stride
who can

So what happens to me is always connected.

August 21, 2016

Going backwards from today, I begin with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. We just got back from a day trip with little children - exhausting under the best circumstances. One child fascinated with everything, the other fed up from the first moment. Always fun.

One exhibit was fascinating in potential - Pharoah in Canaan - about the Egyptian presence in this area. I was entranced from the beginning - the fact that for 350 years Egypt ruled here, that there are ancient Egyptian artifacts everywhere, the fact that they conquered Ashkelon, Gezer and other areas by force but Jaffa by a kind of Trojan horse kind of ruse. It was a completely other dimension to this area. And then we went into the whole discussion of whether the Israelite escape from Egypt really happened. What is the evidence, what counters the evidence, and what is the significance of the history repeated every year. To me worth every minute of kinder kvetching.

In the same exhibit we saw a little film about the development from Hieroglyphics to language. A six year old about to enter first grade in two weeks sits next to me and suddenly gets the concept of spelling out words, the way the letters symbolize sounds instead of the animals or pictures they initially were inspired by.

Picasso was no where near as interesting. It may have been because I was accompanied by a 3 1/5 year old who couldn't get high enough to really see the paintings.

But I'm still too exhausted from the past days, from a little dinner party that I experimented in the kitchen in ways I haven't been able to for years, from a wonderful meeting with friends, from all kinds of the usual fun activities that I've avoided for years.

August 22, 2016

no politics. all the parties and gatherings we've been to in the past 2 weeks have vetoed all discussion. i'm waiting for what happens with the investigation of Netanyahu and then hope to to make politics the only issue.

A word about hygiene. When the european jews first came here they were very concerned about cleanliness: the tropical weather made sanitation an essential issue and DDT and lysol were common in every household. Now there is no money to keep up any standards and not only is the food a problem but also health systems.

August 23, 2016

please forgive babysitting imperatives. life shall return to normal after september 1. until then i am under siege.

August 24, 2016


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