Tel Aviv Diary Dec 23 - 27, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from December 23 - 27, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 23, 2004

Labor is in! What do you know...

i borrowed this clock from I hope it's okay.

it lacks high seriousness and authenticity, something that kind of came automatically for this site, but just for the new year, and the new blood in Labor, I thought it might be a welcome reminder that life goes on in cycles..

Which reminds me - there are ways even in Hebrew (and so much more in Yiddish) of turning grammar into irony. The pretension of the previous sentence, for example, brought to mind a number of ways to make fun of myself in Yiddish, and more in Hebrew, but in English, I seem to be incapable of adding that little twist, that irony, that turns everything I try to take seriously into a joke. And I'm sorry for that.

December 24, 2004

Erev Christmas.

I spent a few months off and on in a hospital when I was 8, and got to celebrate Christmas on the children's ward. It was the first window I had from my religious home to the Christian world outside.

My room actually had a window to the hall where the nurses' station was, and "Merry Christmas" was written backward for me. And because I was a complainer, especially about the itching of my healing wounds, and my nurse's name was Mary, we (My mother and me) would call out, "Mary, Kratz mich!" or "Mary, Scratch me!" when everyone else was calling out holiday greetings, I could chime in.

This is an example of the irony of an-other language, and the ironic viewpoint of the language that makes for such great jewish humor. (I heard that when Howard Nemerov was asked about religion, he said that the only God he had was the Jewish joke...)

We had one of those days today when strange things went wrong - We wound up getting Ezi's cousin, Boaz, to take out a piece of rosemary that got jammed into Ezi's windpipe. It was only a little while at the hospital and everything was fine but I was all farschvitzed about all these other people in the hospital. Nadav with open heart surgery, Sima with her broken hip and mind, and Nachum with his stroke. I visited the one nearest - Ichilov - the one who is sure that a terrible evil is being done to her, that she is being shut up for crimes she didn't commit, etc. etc. It is an old story that any one who has dealt with the aged knows, but heartbreaking nevertheless.

So we walked out of the hospital a bit dazed. And right into the shopping center adjacent to ichilov where among other things a big food fair was going on. Would you eat food in the same building as a hospital if you didn't have to? I wound up buying some jachnun and brown eggs to ease our souls and throats. It was actually very good. and very comforting.

December 25, 2004

I also bought a roast from the supermarket, and when we went to cook it last night - it said "Meat - Ichilov." Since the name Ichilov only means hospital to me, I couldn't help wondering whose meat we would be eating.

I'm kind of glad about Ofer Pines getting so many votes in Labor, but if he really wants international recognition all he has to do is not change the pronunciation of his last name. Here of course, we pronounce it Penis.

For Herzog it doesn't matter.

I am happy to announce that the major dirt of the renovation is now over and I can go back to my usual life of crawling around Tel Aviv.

December 26, 2004

First, the cakes: Oren's birthday cake and details of the cake. Dalia's is very cool and quite elegant, but the pictures aren't ready yet. I'm looking forward to the celebrations tomorrow. It isn't often you get to celebrate kids' birthdays in such grandeur in the midst of such a mess in the world.

Some threw a firebomb into the window of Hassan Bek mosque today. Thanks goodness no one was hurt, but I have lost my symbol of the possibilities of peace in Tel Aviv. Every time I drive past Hassan Bek I feel a sense of pride - at fact that we live together in peace. I hope the perpetrators are caught are appropriately punished.

Tali Fahima has now been charged. It sounds like treason to me, but how do you decide that.

So Opher Pines is wearing a black sweater just like Shimon Peres, and now that he's going to be an important minister, maybe he will in fact implement some of the ideas of Peres' and his dreams.

And, by popular demand, my dream kitchen - so far -

I may remind you that "Thin Lips," the disk, begins and ends in my kitchen, and part of the emphasis is on this poem:

when I came home
and found the plates on the table
from our meal long ago

I was broken

It was the same kitchen
I was someone else

Now it isn't the same kitchen...

Today, half my visit in Dizengoff Center, it seemed, was spent in being checked by the security guard. There was a couple with a baby and a carriage in front of me, and they both had back packs and a diaper bag. This made a lot of work for the earnest little Ethiopian guard. I couldn't help but admire his professionalism, but all I needed to do was pick up a music stand, just next to the entrance, and I was very frustrated by it. I could remember when this shop could be entered from the street, and nobody ever checked anyone for anything, except how their ass looked in jeans.


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