Tel Aviv Diary December 20 - 4, 2006- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - December 20, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 20, 2006

'Twas The Night Before Hanukkah

'Twas The Night Before Hanukkah...

and all over the place
There was noise, there was kvetching
Soch ah disgrace!

The kinderlach, sleeping
uneasily felt
The chocolate rush
from the Hanukkah gelt

And me in the easyboy
so stuffed with latkes
I stretched the elastic
which held up my gatchkes.

When up on the roof
(and it has a steep pitch)
A fat alte kakker
was making a kvitsch.

I jumped up real quick
and I ran to the door
Was it a bandeet
or only a schnorrer?

He wasn't alone
he had 8 ferdelach
And called them by name
as he gave a gebrach:-
"On Moishe, on Yankel, on Itzik, on Sam
On Mendel, on Shmendrik, on Feivush, on Ham
My kidneys are kvelling
do you give a damn?"

He had a white beard
and payyes to boot
And to keep out the cold
he had such a nice suit!

A second from Peerless
I could tell at a glance
But the cut was okay
and so were the pants.

He was triple XL
a real groisser goof
So I yelled out
"Meshuggener! Get off from mein roof!"

He jumped down and said
as he shook hands with me
"Max Klaus is the name.
You have maybe some tea?"

So I gave him a gleisel
while he shook his white mop
Mutt'ring, "Always the same thing
They're dreying my kopp!"

From Vancouver to Glacer Bay
Outremont to Reginek,
Every shmo in the world
hakks meir a cheinik!

They're screaming for presents,
and challah with schmaltz
And from Brooklyn alone
the back pain, gevaltz!"

So we sat and yentehed
and we spun the old dreydels
(He took all of my money
and one of my kanidels).

He said, "Business is not bad
a living I make
But I'm getting too old
for this Hanukkah fake.

And the cell phones, you see
how my pacemaker dings?
For 2 cents I'd quit
and move to Palm Springs?"

And he gave a geshrei
as he fled mit a lacht
"Gut yontiff to all
Vey is mir, such a nacht!"

A group from Lida came last night to the Vilna House to help celebrate Hannukah. Although I'd never been there before, I knew I was home as soon as I walked in. The enormous pots of food, covered for later, the wooden seats, the elaborately dressed elderly ladies. My cousin, who LOVES this kind of thing, sat us down and began whispering cynical remarks in my ear. That too is part of the joy of this kind of experience. I remember this sarcasm from my youth, not necessarily from her side of the family. "I'm not seventy yet," my great aunt Rivshe would say, and in my other ear I'd hear my mother whispering, "She's way over eighty." So we were ready to make fun of everything.

But the performance greatly transcended our sarcasm. The lead singer, Tamara, surprised me at first - with her glamorous movement, her Belorussian text - Padruk shalom - and her sudden golden toothed smile. But she was good,and the show got better and better and the charming little Lida girls moved from their local songs and hymns to Lida to Hebrew Hannukah songs and dance. I had to leave after two and half hours because the wooden chairs were killing my back (it was embarassing because people much older than me seemed perfectly comfortable) but I would have been happy to stay.

A tough day tomorrow - a day trip - so this is short.

December 22, 2006

Spent the day at the Israel Air Force Museum. (The site's not in English - but great pictures). We stopped along the way at Ad Halom to see the Egyptian obelisk memorial to their dead in 1948. I understand the Egyptians destroyed all Israeli memorials in the Sinai.

We also passed very near the border and the Rafiah crossing - twice. And where they shoot Kassam rockets from. Some fell nearby where we were today.

I also learned today that Israel is very wealthy. At this site. And evil. At least according to Iran. If only a portion of this were true, we'd be in wonderful shape.

December 23, 2006

And now for a more comic view of the same subject here.

December 24,2006

There was an evening in honor of poet Sharon Hass's latest book which i chaired, unfortunately under the influence of antihistamines. I tried reading some of the poems out loud yesterday and found it difficult to find the oral music - Today, hearing Zali Gurewich, Raquel Chalfi, and the others read, I realizedit is only to me that the the amazing depths of the music of Hebrew is elusive.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Home

you are visitor numberCounter