7 Tel Aviv Diary February 16-20, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 16-20, 2018 Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 16, 2018

talk to you tomorrow

February 17, 2018

I sat in front of the computer last night and just didn't have the strength to begin. A family reunion held in a newly opened addition to an old favored restaurant turned out to be tasty but incredibly lacking in sound-proofing. the din left me deaf and confused afterward and I fear the damage is long-lasting. everything on the menu had been carefully chosen, the flowers selected and brought with love, the tables set and arranged perfectly, and the guest list perfectly measured to fill the room but not crowd it. but who can measure sound in advance? there are always unmeasurable varients. so it is with politics. what went awry in such a rich country like Venezuela that so many of the population are literally starving? what could go wrong here? As i watched the demonstration in Habima square yesterday urging Justice, I couldn't help tremble. Nasrallah's threats, the fear of the alternative right wing government, Trump's impeachment - it's almost impossible to figure the results of a decision.

When I sat down to write yesterday I wanted to tell about a Yiddish celebration at Beit Leyvick in the morning about Yacob Papiernikov. one of the poems, zol zein, was sung by one of the participants and i remembered how chava alberstein recorded it so beautifully

I had to leave as it was ending in order to get to Antishefa. Beit Leyvick is populated mostly by older people, and because of the subject, there were a lot of older people there too. It was about Yisrael Segal, who had been an important writer, editor, television personality, but died 11 years ago. Old friends came to talk about him and the wonderful contemporary music and songs of antishefa came in between. And then suddenly Estie Nissim got up and sang "Di Goldene Pave" - a lullaby by Anna Margolin - and i melted. Hava Alberstein sings that one too,

but from what i know now of Margolin and her longing for her son, the old folk story of the Golden Peacock and its significance for the Yiddish culture is only part of this song.

in the middle of a lovely little gathering of friends i turn on my phone to call a taxi for a guest from the US and see that soldiers were seriously wounded by a bomb on the Gaza border. Then another notice that we're bombing Gaza. So much for a social evening.

Have I told you that yesterday at a demonstration in Habima I was overwhelmed by a sign that said "Tsedek, tsedek tirdof" - It's from chapter 16 in Judges. "Justice, Justice shalt thou pursue."

February 20, 2018

The wires got burned out during an electricity outage. here's what i wrote:

So Sunday morning I finally settled down for a day of work on the internet and within minutes the electricity went. When it returned an hour later the internet was gone. Before he called the internet service Ezi worked on restarting the router, the computer, the electricity, everything. Then he called the service and spent another hour working with them on the phone. Today they sent a service man who discovered within minutes that there wasnít anything wrong with our computer, but the internet connection, and he made an appointment for someone to come tomorrow. So even though Iím breaking my rules for this journal Iím writing this offline and will put it up hopefully tomorrow.

Itís not like I have nothing to do. We spent part of the evening dragging books to the distributor, having picked them up from the publisher, after I discovered that the publisher does not work with distributors. After all, they say, who would want to review or sell Yiddish books? As Papiernikov wrote Ė it wasnít only the Germans who killed the language by killing so many of the speakers Ė it was the laws to promote Hebrew that turned Yiddish into a deficient and primitive proof of exile. So it takes much more work than usual to help bring it back. Never mind. My motherís determination pushes me ahead.

So yesterday we went off to the flea market and even though we faded very fast and had to refresh ourselves at Aboulafia enough to get home, I managed to pick up a lot of bling. Bath salts Ė 5 packages for 30 shekel. Reading glasses for 10 shekel. Great earrings from Alon Vintage shop on 11 Pinchas Ben Ari Street for 20 shekel. There was much more Iíd like to have bought but Eziís broken wing made us cave in early. A bit of good luck because the technician who came and failed to fix the internet called and asked to come early and we arrived home just as he parked.

Later we went to meet some friends in what seemed to be a neglected and forgotten cafť I must have written about many times here on Kikar Masaryk. Toseret Haaretz. I know I wrote a poem at least 25 years ago. Anyhow it turned out there were one or two people I didnít know in the cafť. And those were people I knew of.

We should have gone home to watch the news, but that would have been so depressing, and on our way to the parking lot we passed the Naaman outlet shop off of Rabin Square that apparently buys odd lots and stuff, and in the attic there we finally found sheets that match our strange bed size. For maybe 11$ each. It meant plodding through packages covering the floor but somehow we felt happier doing that than finding out the latest details of the government-media scandals. Not that we never knew it all along. I think most people can spot planted news most of the time.

February 20, 2018

That was five minutes ago.

Now everything is changing minute by minute and I'm not able to express the feeling of all our nightmares coming true.