Tel Aviv Diary -February 16-20, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 16-20, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 16, 2014

Two things are in focus right now: the bombing of a tourist bus in Taba today is the main concern. Taba is in Egypt and the security is not as tight as here, so Al Keida manages to act. But Taba is also just across the border from Eilat, and the message in blowing up a few south Korean tourists and an Egyptian bus driver was for Israel. "We're coming to get you. We don't care who gets killed along the way."

My own real worry is the mess in Hadassah Hospital - strikes of medical staff kill people and there are people in that hospital and/or are getting outpatient treatment that are in danger. I don't really see the way out of the strike - unless the government kicks in - and/or Hadassah sets up a fund-raising campaign.

Human life is so fragile - it is always a miracle to me that we survive when we do.

So much for the shmaltz of the day. A sudden babysitting assignment took us out of our usual schedules and now that the long weekend is over I am faced with an overturned house and a empty pantry. But: A clean conscience.

February 17, 2014

Determined to keep up the pace of these writings, I will devote a daily portion of my life to keep recording the Tel Aviv element. Sometimes I let myself get lost, because it's very easy, but that's why i'm making this public declaration. I didn't even mention to you that my piece on Edgar Allen Poe came out on Friday in Haaretz. This was the fifth, but there will be a few more. Why do I not write about our local graves, you ask, as so many have? Because everyone would contradict me. Maybe I'll speak with some of the local experts about trying to pool our details. I can't figure out - for example - how Bialik managed to have an enormous house when everyone else was living in tents and then gets a veritable mausoleum at a time there is no money for food. And how Tom Freud's husband committed suicide because Bialik left him (his partner) in debt when he left Berlin. I do like the story of Rachel's grave, not only because she is buried next to the Kinneret she loved and Elisheva is buried just a little behind her.

February 18, 2014

The sun has been shining and shining and shining and it is perfect beach weather. But we want rain. Just a little. Saturday's rain left us with dry streets and leftover cholent. you need cold weather for cholent. The upside is of course the joy we can take in just walking through the streets of Tel Aviv. Every Tuesday we take Omer to Papa's, sit on the balcony, and revel in the decadent urban scene. There's the market, the street fair, the seemingly unending filming - but Omer who is 3 and a half, likes none of that. His joy is in watching the local birds, the feral cats, the garbage trucks, manipulating motorcycles, etc. is matched only by his fear of the bustling crowds and extreme performers.

But today he greeted us with the announcement that we were going to a new restaurant next to his home. Yes, he said, the food is good here. But as we approached the place, it was clear they were not yet fully ready for business. Are you sure, I asked Omer. Have you eaten here? No I haven't, he said, but assured me that his friend Ayden had enjoyed his meal very much here. At the door the waiter apologized that they were not yet open for lunch, so we crossed the street and discovered that the only other place we knew of was undergoing remodeling. For some reason Omer decided we would continue up King George Street, and like automatic grandparents we followed, discovering, by accident, that the old Ze'ev Jabontinsky stronghold cradled a little cafe whose cute name I could not pronounce, across the street from Maier park. (playground by day, gay pickup zone by night. Sixty-odd years before, when Ezi went to school, his first grade teacher brought the children there and they found used condoms that they impaled on sticks and paraded with down the street. Teacher never brought them back.) Anyway we passed the minor celebrities sitting in the din of sixties music and seated ourselves at a tiny trapezoidal table. The boy ordered shnitzel and was asked by the waiter what he will drink. What do you have? orange juice, lemonade, coke.. he selected lemonade and we were left wondering at the absolute sophistication of the urban nursery child. I'm not sure this could happen any where else in the world.

February 19, 2014

In the six years we have been visiting the hematology ward I have never heard an unpleasant word or loud tone from any of the nurses (except the head nurse who barks orders with amazing efficiency). But today the most pleasant of the nurses lost her cool. One of the ladies who escorts private patients told her 'guest' from abroad to wait for treatment in one of the beds. The nurses are the one who determine who needs to lie down and who should be getting treatment in a chair. And they decide according to need, not payment. But the escort protested that her patient was entitled to special benefits. This set off all of her fuses. The entire concept of a separate medicine for different classes of people is against the entire principle of medicine. I suppose if everything had not blown up at Hadassah hospital she would not have been so enthusiastic. But I could not agree with her more. How could it be otherwise. If I get treated for a disease but my neighbor doesn't, I can still catch it from her, right? So it is in my best interest to make sure that everyone is healthy in my world. And I wouldn't stop there - I go directly from John Locke to a socialist society.

February 20, 2014

Jeepers! I saw this video and recognized these people and these treatments:

With all the moral churnings going on in Israel right now, it is important to remember that there are not only people who talk, but people who actually do good things all the time. You just never hear about them.

To .Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

write me

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home