Tel Aviv Diary January 17 - 21 , 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from January 17, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 17, 2005

watch this spot.

That's what I wrote in the middle of the night, when a kidney infection was keeping me from the sleep i long desired. But in the morning I woke up with the certain sense that I had written something of great value. And then I discovered this line.

Let no one say that illness lends one depth.

A personally significant article: Is Sex Necessary

On a completely different note, Ella Abuksis was seriously injured in Sderot on Saturday night saving her brother from a rocket. She is still not breathing on her own. Her parents asked that everyone pray for her. Were I her mother I would ask the same.

Today was a day of mourning in Sderot - and who would not mourn with them? And I still believe that Abu Mazen has to be supported and we should not weaken his strength by revenging ourselves on the Palestinians.

There simply HAS to be a way to defuse the power of those stupid kassams and strengthening the defense of Sderot long enough to weaken the Hamas.

January 18, 2005

Okay. I have something I want to get off my chest - it's the kotex commercial. A few months ago all the tv channels began to bombard us with the wonderful intimacy of kotex tampons - where the blood associated with menstruation becomes the blood of red lace panties - and the voiceover says in English "It's all about you." - Now the pretension of this commercial is overwhelming - as if the provincial locals will actually believe the seeming sophistication of tampons because they're associated with the U.S. (It is so irritating to me that I think I've even written about this before). So when a local counter commercial came on, where a typical Israeli woman says she has now discovered that during your period you can suddenly dance and jump arond and always wear white and all that - too bad it only lasts 5 days - I roared. This is commercial for Lily and it cuts crap. Hope to see more of them.

Another typical Israeli phenomenon - the singer, Shulamit Aaron, in a long red dress, sings a song called "I'll dance on the steps of the Rabbinate." Now any woman who has tried to get divorced in Israel should have that song in her heart. IT IS SOOOO HARD, SO HUMILIATING, SO PAINFUL to get divorced in Israel because it has to go through the religious institutions. And of course according to the modern interpretation of Halacha, men divorce women, and women accept the divorce. Don't get me started on the financial blackmail I had to go through long ago.

Happy Eid al Adha, the Muslim feast that commemorates the sacrifice of Isaac. Something we should probably celebrate together...

And while we're on the subject of ethnicity, Alex sent me this poem about the problems of being a culturally assimilated jew:


Yiddish was the secret code, therefore I don't farshtaist,
A bisseleh maybe here and there, the rest has gone to waste.
Sadly when I hear it now, I only get the gist,
My Bubbeh spoke it beautifully; but me, I am tsemisht.

So och un vai as I should say, or even oy vai iz mir,
Though my pisk is lacking Yiddish, it's familiar to my ear.
And I'm no Chaim Yonkel , in fact I was shtick naches,
But, when it comes to Yiddish though, I'm talking out my tuchas.

Es iz a shandeh far di kinder that I don't know it better
(Though it's really nishtkefelecht when one needs to write a letter)
But, when it comes to characters, there's really no contention,
No other linguist can compete with honorable mentshen:

They have nebbishes and nebechels and others without mazel,
Then, too, schmendriks and schlemiels, and let's not forget schlemazel.
These words are so precise and descriptive to the listener,
So much better than "a pill " is to call someone 'farbissener'.

Or - that a brazen woman would be better called chaleria,
And you'll agree farklempt says more than does hysteria.
I'm not haken dir a tsheinik and I hope I'm not a kvetch,
But isn't mieskeit kinder, than to call someone a wretch?

Mitten derinnen, I hear Bubbeh say, "It's nechtiker tog, don't fear,
To me you're still a maven, zol zein shah, don't fill my ear.
A leben ahf dein keppele, I don't mean to interrupt,
But you are speaking narishkeit.....And A gezunt auf dein kup!"

January 19, 2005

Hail storms are keeping me home and dreaming of better weather. Maybe for that reason I looked up golf in Israel. And found this great Israeli invention, the Harosh hayehudi...

The lightning storms have been going on all day, wearing Shusha to a frazzle. No one was outside (except, of course, me)and I immediately got out of my car and stepped into a 10 inch deep puddle. They say we've had a fifth of the annual rainful in one 24 hour period. And it was so cold that social workers have been going around to their senior clients to make sure they haven't frozen to death. Can you imagine how Noah must have felt in that ark?

January 20, 2005

A BLACK DAY FOR JUSTICE IN ISRAEL. Haaretz reports that we have decided to strip thousands Palestinians of their East Jerusalem property. I feel like Jezebel's daughter. Some action must be taken.

But I have heard no protests, no discussion of this matter. Am I the only one?

Or is this a minor matter in comparison to the big picture? In either case I am appalled.

January 21, 2005

This morning's Ha'aretz Meron Rapoport continues with a very big article about this confiscation of lands. It is no less appalling to read the details, but the fact of the outrage in the newspaper at this brutal act gives some hope for tikkun, repair, of this crime.

(What do I know? Who does not carry the keys of the house he has lost in his heart.)

I want to change the subject but cannot. Thank goodness Nira Livneh spoke about this just now on the morning show on channel 10, but now a formal protest has to be initiated. The fact that this whole process was hidden from everyone indicates that there is some understanding of its immorality, and a public outcry might be able to reverse the decision.

But an afternoon in Tel Aviv - what magic. After a visit to see the new exec jet Ezi was working on, we went to Nona's for lunch: the sun, the people, the food - there is no place like Nona's for me to feel the 'other' Tel Aviv, the city of great conversations and great sophistication.

Then I had to pick up my car from the Ibn Gvirol Mall, where they installed a new speaker for my new phone, and I noticed for the first time that phrases from Ibn Gvirol's medieval poems were part of the front entrance of the Mall. It reminded me suddenly that I have not written about all the poems hung up all over Tel Aviv, except in passing. That's because I haven't had a chance to look at them carefully. But I will.

Gershon just sent me this:

The London Evening Standard is hosting a public debate on the appalling motion:'ZIONISM TODAY IS THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS!'


An onsite poll on the subject is open until 25 January. You are urged to go to the link given below and vote against the motion......

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