Tel Aviv Diary February 7-2016, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 7-11, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 6, 2016

Okay, so I'm an hour early. i wanted to skip today and go right to tomorrow. Even though it was a perfectly normal shabbat. And when the shabbat ended we started going into high gear - for example we're selling Oren's car - a 2003 Smart cabriolet - and have not had a minute to get it ready for selling, not even a for sale sign. so now Ezi's fixing the little things that are wrong with it, and buying the little parts it needs to be perfect. he's got to get them from England but he doesn't care how much it costs. he watches those programs on tv about guys who soup up old cars in England and the US and it kills him - in Israel there are not enough cars to get spare parts, and the costs are prohibitive. but his fingers are itching to soup up a car. so i think he's going to fulfill his dreams and make this a perfect car, and then sell it for peanuts because there's no market for old cars. Dreams cost a lot of money in this country.

"What does this say to you?" Gilad asks, reading from his cellphone: "Israeli Woman Stabbed in Bedouin Town of Rahat in Suspected Terror Attack". I remind you Rahat is in Israel, so it is assumed that the victim is Jewish, and that the attacker is Bedouin.

The night was the worst for restaurants. From my years at Papa's I remember Sunday is always quiet, a rainy night is also not so great, cold keeps everyone home, and for exclusive places it can be murder. So we went to Popina = and we are alone with our friends. it is an overdesigned place, with a menu that is difficult to follow and waitresses who refused to understand we were all hard of hearing. otherwise it was a great night.

I had The Decadent Chicken and it was good, but i have been trying to figure out why they called it decadent.

February 8, 2016

We took Omer for an ultrasound at the Maccabi clinic on Yigal Alon Street, and when it turned out clear, we thought to celebrate at the cool Asian restaurant next door Zepra. I think Omer was the only child to enter their doors today at least, because it feels like a very young-adult place. For no reason at all, I didn't feel comfortable and order the familiar Pad Thai instead of examining the whole menu. It was a good idea. Actually everything we ordered was amazing. Unfortunately I made the mistake of trying out their bathrooms and they were sophisticated, with dim lighting and cool fixtures. But they smelled. Dim lighting in bathrooms makes me suspicious.

Our travels in Tel Aviv ended with a visit to the Little Prince. This is a bookstore on King George Street you may remember from an evening Rachel Heimowitz and I had last year, or from a celebration Larry Friefeld and Lois Unger arranged. it is stacked with old books and new books, in all languages. Not a great place for a reading because the sound is not good and the room is long and narrow, but it is a great place for reading and writing. We kind of messed it up a bit because we brought little kiddies into the quiet atmosphere, but the atmosphere is elastic, and absorbed even my three year old granddaughter dressed in green tulle, flashing shoes from "Frozen" and a pink sweatshirt.

February 9, 2016

Tablet magazine has a great article by one of my favorite critics, Adam KIrsch, about one of my favorite writers Sayed Kashua about his despair of Israel. I'm in despair too. But like many of my sane friends I cocoon myself in the happier parts of Tel Aviv and kvetch about their lack of perfection. I wish Sayed Kashua was in my cocoon, but I'll continue loving no matter where he is. This week there was no column from him in the paper and i feared it was over. and who could blame him?

February 9, 2016

Why do we have so few normal adults in government? Today our knesset is making more and more extreme decisions that seem determined by childish prejudices and fears. we should be calming the storm, putting our money into education, cultural centers and roads.

Save April 11 for me if you are in new york. i'll be reading in the early show with liz magnes at piano.

February 10, 2016

I am trying not to rejoice in the fact that Sara Netanyahu has been proven to be a liar and an extremely disturbed person. I have been trying to sympathize with her, with her living under the stress of such criticism. But all I can feel is the hope that the image of her husband will begin to become clearer to everyone, and that we will have a chance to turn this country around.

while we were putting together the bathroom cupboards we bought at Ikea today, I couldn't help but think of a Swedish couple putting together the same cupboards, of how they can concentrate on the cupboards and not think of the possibility of imminent disaster. and then i thought of how little the Swedish couple must know about us, and our lives. how little they must know of the lives of most of the people here. strange to expect them to understand us when we know so little of them. But then again, we don't judge them.

February 11, 2016

When I think of what is happening next door - the humanitarian crisis in Syria, it boggles the heart. It is so near, and people are starving. as if civilization has been lost.

My husband is Palestinian. I've said this before. he was born in Palestine Israel. It was a name for a place until this generation, not a people. And now it distinguishes the good guys from the bad guys. of course the definition of good depends on what side you are one.

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