Tel Aviv Diary - February 21-25, 2012 Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 27, 2012

Last night was a reading of IAWE for its journal arc22 at Tmol Shilshom in Jerusalem. I expected Nothing. A few poets, a straggler or two, empty tables. But it was crowded and fun

I even read a poem of the late Zyggy Frankel

If you missed it, there's another reading on Thursday at Tel Aviv University at 6:00 p.m. (Webb Building, room 103

I only wish the real voice of Israeli humor, Sayyed Kashua, could be a reader. He is the true heir of Sholem Aleichem in Israel.

February 28, 2012

Tell me these birds of the Negev in Israel are not amazing.

I couldn't get them to be visible yesterday - after all I don't know much about writing http and all that - i just 'do' it.

February 29, 2012

Oy the rain. And the cold. I know, I know... In Rochester it's colder, but here it is so much more depressing, cold to the bone, and with no where to hide. Tomorrow for example I'm with a baby all morning and usually we go visit some animals in a zoo or play in a playground with all the other kids, but what can I do with a toddler in the rain? We've been to most of the museums - will we be condemned to the Mall? I've even looked it up on the web - all the wonderful things to do with kids in Tel Aviv demand sun. like here or here.

Isn't it wonderful not to think of all the children in Homs for a few moments? But I can't forget about them for long. They have so much more to think about than rain.

March 1, 2012

Talk about coming in like a lion. Watch this! (ignore the talking biscuit commercial).

And tonight is a two-dog night but we don't even have one dog any more.

Most people are rejoicing over the cold and the rain - snow in Jerusalem is a cause for celebration. For my friend and me who come from cold places, this weather is only a reason to stay under the covers. We may love the results of this dampness, the water, but we're not equipped for cold. Our heating possibilities are limited, our windows aren't sealed properly, and I've got a few friends who have pots in their living to catch the leaks from their ceilings. So you can imagine what the people living in tents are going through.

March 2, 2012

Before I forget, if you're awake on monday night I'm live on Galei Zahal from 1-2 a.m. here

Sometimes I don't write because I'm too angry and I don't want to express it until I am sure I am justified. Notice, for example, I have said nothing about our stay in the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem last week. I am still waiting to see what the manager says about my complaints. I believe that if a mistake is acknowledged and corrected, it can be forgiven. But as the days pass, and the manager fails to respond, I suspect I should not have kept silent.

On the other hand, a few days ago we were at the Knesset meeting about the law supporting Hebrew poetry and I had numerous reservations about supporting a law that promotes only Hebrew and not our second language, Arabic, or my first language, English. But as Mark wrote on the IAWE writers Facebook site when asked "what's the connection?" "The connection is that if the Hebrew poets of Israel don't get government support today, the English poets sure won't get it tomorrow." And this morning and again this afternoon, I saw Ahuva Alperon, who had been at the meeting with us, on television, reading poems by Rachel and Leah Goldberg. And this convinced me. Despite my qualifications, I'm sticking with this law. Sometimes a cooling-off period is a good thing.

March 3, 2012

Separation of Religion and Government. The more I keep quiet about it, the more I feel like I'm bursting. If we don't let God do more important things than tell us what to study, when to buy, how to get from here to there, where to live, how to treat our neighbors, and so on, he's just going to wear out. God should be allowed to ponder his creation while eating chocolate-covered cherries.

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