Tel Aviv Diary December 12016, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary December 12-16, 2018

Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 12, 2018

The infant died. The mother had a chance to see him today before he died this evening, and i suddenly felt a pain in my gut about a quarter to seven this evening as i was leaving my friend. I had been too busy to feel anything before, serving supper, warming up the soup, moving furniture around, reading a few pages of a novel out loud and all that stuff - but as soon as i left her room i took out my phone and said to myself, there is a pure soul that has been freed. Then i looked at the phone and the announcement flashed on. why this terrorist attack should have entered my bones more than others is not clear to me

December 13, 2018

another wave of disastrous terrorist attacks. how someone can shoot to kill strangers, or drive their cars into groups of people, is difficult for me to understand. I do understand the waves of pain and fear going through people. the need for revenge, the reinforcement of the

My own day was far from this - at least consciously. I must have gone through dozens of guards who checked my bag, or examined my face as i drove into a parking garage, but i'm so used to them I didn't think about it until this moment. it seems normal.

And yet, I kn.ow that i am constantly in danger - and that awareness alters my behavior whether willingly or unwillingly. that i am suspicious. that if there is 'racism' in this country there is some reasons that have nothing to do with race in itself.

December 14, 2018

Sure, why not begin the day with a lecture about money managing? like i have nothing else to do on friday morning. but i am working on being a good wife so i trail along, making sure i look smart and fashionable - the old conspicuous consumption standards. Gut shabbes.

SSSOOO wrong! this was our financial advisor. apparently doing very well. I didn't look at the location on the invitation so was incredibly surprised that we turned in to a glorious hall. And there was an amazing breakfast spread out for us - and hundreds of others - and a brief lecture in an enormous high-ceilinged room, about how wonderful the market is doing. the economy is booming - and then an entertaining political dialogue, a bit left, a bit right...

and all i could think about was - we're paying these guys too much

But the question kept coming up from people in the audience - what about the have-nots? what about all those people who can't afford food? who have to steal milk powder for their kids? how does all that fit into all this?

And what about all these people who have died in the past week from terrorist shootings?

December 15, 2018

"Nothing to see here," said my friend in Metula, and indeed the streets were very quiet. Beit Hashalom, the restaurant on the main street, was half empty, and that in itself was something to see. The restaurant itself was understaffed and a few of the items on the menu were out of stock. It was precisely this, the absence, that i felt. we went up to a lookout and there were a few people braving the wind to look at the view. a tent. another tent. that was all. everything was underground. everything was quiet. too quiet. on a sunny day like this i would expect tourists, shops, something. don't tell me the people aren't stressed. all the bravado we saw on television is skin-deep.

It is worth going to Metula for the food, incidentally. The influence of Lebanese cooking is very strongly felt and it is different from the rest of the food of in the north of Israel - not Druze, or Arab, or Circassian or Jewish.

December 16, 2018

I couldn't watch the news today. disgusting politicians saying disgusting things. even the facebook of Bibi's son had to be closed down. i had to do other things.

like write my talk for january 3, or kvetch about it.

we live in a house of widows. this morning a neighbor knocked on my door - the one who graduated Auschwitz and emerged extremely unable to live with herself. her electricity went off because she washed one of the lightbulbs, and was quite hysterical about it. I tried to help but it wasn't until Ezi came over that the temporary problem was solved and the clear instructions about what to tell the electrician soothed her mind. an hour later another knock at the door. this time it was even more close to home. Our upstairs neighbor, a new widow, had a leak. since we have strongly felt the consequences of previous leaks, we paid attention and Ezi was off to confer with a plumber. Then there was a matter of water pressure in the upstairs neighbor on the fifth floor. then there were questions about the central heating. co op buildings are not for aging people - and all of us are aging here in the building. the young ones just mind their own business and push past. is all this a reflection of our entire society? maybe. but i could get past that if there weren't so many dangers from without.

They are fixing the bridge at Raqqa - the one they call the old bridge, but was christened the Gut Bridge when Ezi's grandfather built it. There is a video of it here.

Ezi, with his memory for engineering details, has precise details about how it was built with recycled materials and great innovation, and its destruction during the was worried him greatly. me I'm incredibly glad to see so much industry and motivation. it gives me hope that someday many things will be rebuilt.

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