Tel Aviv Diary Au,gust21 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - August 2-6, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 2, 2020

we're rich! we got 750 shekel each from the government, and we're going to donate it all to charity for those who need food. I'll tell you more when i find their website.

Whoops - it wasn't the government grant yet. It was some past due payment. Why did i think it could happen to everyone in the country at once? I can't belueve they even know who is living here. but the site i promised for people where you can give the country's giis

Sderot got another rocket tonight. I don't know how the residents bear it - along with the corona - and especially when tonight was the first night of the drive-in there.

We were coming back from our visit with some neighbors when we saw a few policeman in a nearby driveway. They were questioning a young man who didn't look like he belonged in this neighborhood at all, and it didn't look like it was going to end well. Breakins have become more and more common as the plague progresses and people can't find employment. I fear it is becoming a way of life.

August 3, 2020

Today is a symposium from the school of cultural studies on The Music of Poetry. Tomorrow is the big reading from tu b'av. sign up. both are open.

the first one moves, the second one doesn't

Imagine a symposium on Yiddish and Arabic. where in the world could it take place if not on zoom? what an afternoon - how weird and wonderful. good that it was recorded

and good that it kept me from watching too much news. it is too much to take. my high school friends all live in Florida in cool safe communities - and me i live in a world that turns upside down every minute. There is even a tv series that we like to watch for 'escape' about a medical unit in the army. most of the time it is good, clean, adolescent escape, or about romance, or the good things we do for the Syrians, but tonight it was about trauma and shell shock.

August 4, 2020

So if you're into Hebrew and Yiddish you can hear the program recorded last week,

And the zoom reading was pretty cool and will be recorded soon.

August 5, 2020

Picture this. I'm hosting this poetry evening with 41 poets and suddenly my phone flashes on a notice that Beirut is exploding. Beirut. i read the notice and introduce a poet, the poet reads a poem, and another notice flashes on - israel denies any involvement - another poet - another announcement - 15 killed - another poet - another announcement - 30 killed. can i turn the notices off? how can i? people are dying? there's a little break when Michael puts on "Dance me to the end of love" and I fall apart because Cohen was writing about Auschwitz and extermination to music and i am still not figuring out whether i should say something to the group. But they are all into poetry and i shut up and introduce the next reader.

Why should I fall apart at the news of an explosion in Beirut? Not only because it in itself is a tragedy - as the number of dead rise and rise. not only because i know it was either terrorism or terrible negligence. Either way the fragile middle east is in danger.

Ezi shows me picture - see the little explosions at the beginning, the little lights flashing? that's ammunition. See this cloud? that's ammonia. Can't be on purpose. it's neglect. 100 dead

i'm afraid there's going to be another shutdown - but this time to prevent the demonstrations. i pray there will be no need for shutdowns, for any reason. i want the entertainment industry to come back to life - 200000 people unemployed with no income for half a year.

we spent the evening with friends on the beach, drinking Cava, watching a surprise engagement party. "Someday," my friend said, "we'll look back on these corona days, and say 'those were good times.'" she could be right - in more ways than one.

August 6, 2020

Nothing like sitting down to work to make you feel that uncontrollable urge to organize your desk in a more aesthetic manner. I keep finding publications i didn't even know i participated in

I was so proud of the municipality when I saw they had lit up city hall with the flag of Lebanon. To me it showed our sympathy. But then today I heard that we were being threatened with retribution, that the Lebanese had interpreted it as a sign that we had mastered them, and they threatened us with lighting up our city with their missiles. Their granaries had been destroyed in Beirut and I'm sure we would be happy to pass flour over the border - but they don't believe it. they probably don't believe we'd be willing to help with their wounded, even though we have offered just as we help the Syrian wounded as a matter of fact.

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