Tel Aviv Diary - February 19-23, 2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 19, 2015

Storm shmorm. We're going out. The thought of watching news is terrifying.

So we went out and talked to our friends about all the horrors of the election, the smothering of culture by the government, the antisemitism we're all encountering in the world, the anti-left propaganda, the corruption of Bibi - all the things we escaped our televisions to find in the restaurant. But at least we had great food - There is something about Papa's that is always good, and I didn't mind braving the weather for the lentil-caviar soup and the fish.

Back home we went out to tie down the trees in the garden in anticipation of the big storm. I got most of the house plants in this afternoon. Think of the millions of new refugees from Syria in their tents. Brrrr.

And what do you know? Papa's was full. And we forgot the hail outside as we ate our carbonara and drank our grappa.

February 20, 2015

Rivka Basman is 90, and her party drew an impressive audience. Lectures, readings, music and singing, films and letters from all over praised and demonstrated the importance of her work. Even a facebook friend from Bangalesh translated her to Bengali.


ווי גוט איז מיר
אז איר פארשטייט ניט
וואס איך שרייב.
א פויגל פריי
וואס מעג אנטפלעקן
תהום און הימל.
נאר ווען איך האלט ביים סוף,
ווען איך פארשרייב
דאס הארץ=געקלטפ אויף יידיש
אנטהילט זיך פון באהעלטעניש
א טרער פון מיין געמיט
צום ניט פארשטיין
מיין יידיש ליד.

רבקה באסמאן בן-חיים

How wonderful for me
That you canít understand
What I write.
A bird released
That can reveal
Abyss and heaven.

But when Iím nearing the end
Writing the heartbeat of Yiddish
A tear escapes
That you cannot know
My Yiddish poem.

Saif Ibne Rafiq

Dhaka, Bangladesh

[পূর্ব ইউরোপের বিলুপ্তপ্রায় ভাষা ইডিশ (Yiddish)। ওই ভাষায় লেখা Ravika Basman-এর কবিতার ইংরেজি করেছেন Karen Alkalay-Gut
তার ফেসবুক ওয়ালে প্রকাশিত ইংরেজির বাংলা ভার্সন]
কী আশ্চর্য,
তুমি বুঝতে পারছো না
আমি কী লিখছি!
স্বর্গ-নরকের গোপনীয়়তা ফাঁস করতে
একটা পাখি ছেড়ে দিলাম।
শেষপ্রান্তে, যখন আমি
ইডিশ হৃদস্পন্দন লিখছি;
এক ফোঁটা অশ্রু পালিয়ে বাঁচে,
কারণ, তুমি আমার ইডিশ কবিতাটি
বুঝবে না।

February 21, 2015

Snow covered many of our cities, sometimes for the first time, and we too were wakened by thunderstorms all night, but the day was glorious in Tel Aviv. Except for some morning rain that fell exactly when I was getting out of the car to meet friends for brunch, the day was sun-drenched. While some of our residents were making snow balls with what was left on the grass in Jerusalem, we wandered around Tel Aviv to see what was new and what is falling apart. We even examined the Norman Hotel with its really elegant architecture and fine looking restaurants. The contrast between the refurbished homes and the neglected buildings is so great, it is s truly remarkable element of Tel Aviv. But here's an example of the old elegance, the Pagoda building

February23, 2015

Where was I yesterday? On the phone with the webserver who wiped out all my statistics. After 14 years this is the second time this has happened. the first time it re-started from 0. this time nothing has happened. i'm still 0.

Had I not been troubled with some strange very polite young man with an Indiaan accent I would have written about the play we saw last night.

It was really a remarkable play, one that I felt throughout that I'd seen before but I hadn't. Gorodish by Hillel Mittepunct is about the admiration for General Gorodish from the '67 war until he became the scapegoat for the failures of the army in '73. It's a very symbolic play and Gorodish is the symbol of the blind self-assuredness of the Israelis after '67. it is a clear parallel to today's situation and the speech to this effect was applauded roundly by all the audience that included Benny Ganz and many of the leaders of the country. Perhaps perhaps we are learning...

I was back on Allenby today - and to my surprise it was crowded. Bustling even. The satin and

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