Tel Aviv Diary January 22 - 26 , 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from January 22, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 22, 2005

I made the page and then fell asleep. I had many plans to write about my exciting evening, but you'll just have to imagine how it was now.

Today it is stormy and dark, and the sun and warmth of yesterday is forgotten. We have the kids for sabbath lunch - a bit conventional - but it is comforting always to be home and eating while the thunder rolls outside.

Later we'll brave the elements for an exhibit, but I doubt whether Bat Yam can provide great art.

We're getting ready for the at least 3 major events: a weekend at the dead sea with ezi's coworkers, the annual meeting of the Israel Association of Writers in English, and a trip to New York and Boston.

This will be the first time I will be going to NY in ages where I don't have some major reading. But I just decided to go - told no one, actually. Some library, some learning, some art. That's enough.

(later) That Bat Yam museum is something else. A round, two-storied affair, it has incredible potential, with space that could house complex art works. But the part of it that interested me was the old standing exhibit of the history of Bat Yam. The old photographs, the passports, letters, protocols of old meetings, plans for houses, etc. - they all seemed so real to me, and the whole idea of post postmodern installation art along side the bus tickets, the meat grinder, and so on, seemed totally trivial. Sometimes we just don't know what is important in our lives.

January 23, 2005

So Beilin is also up in arms about the land robbery. Haaretz is featuring the news on the first page again.

Freezing morning - so I wore my red fleece jacket to run my chores. Little did I know I was committing a sin. When I came home I discovered that red had been forbidden to women by Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel on the grounds that it is a provocative (whorish) color! The article is in Friday's Ma'ariv. Come on! The email that got forwarded to me even noted that: "it is written in the Bible that King Solomon said women of high status <נשות חייל> shall wear red <ארגמן> )". The letter also points out the patriarchal danger of this silly decree. What happens, for example, if a woman accuses a rapist and is denied justice because she was wearing read and asking for it...

If you would to help in any shape or form and/or express your support, please contact:

Leah Gruenpeter Gold (M) 0545442124;(T) 03-6045128;

Emi Kaufman (M)0544-678018 (same email)

Adv. Ena Soltanovitch (M) 0524-549977

Black, by the way, is okay.

I do my part of my food shopping on the web. Usually in the middle of the night. It takes me a short time and feels very sterile and high-tech.
Then in the morning, usually when I'm in the middle of a meeting, someone named Mazal or Svetlana or Amar calls and says something like "You know what, the bananas don't look very good - I'm not going to send them to you." or "We're all out of green tea. Want some brown tea?" or "We don't CARRY that brand of salami!"
I'm used to it. But today I wound up with half my order. No cocoa, no paper towels, no parmesan, no salami, no apples....
So much better to go to the local grocery, get everything I want, have a little chat with the neighbors,pay double (with a check at the end of the month, post dated.)

January 24, 2005

My heart is in the UN this morning - the General Assembly is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberating of Auschwitz. They're even playing Hatikvah. It's a pretty amazing event considering that only a few years before in that very hall the Zionism=racism resolution was passed by a large majority.

Just shows you how people change. I mean look at Abu Mazen - didn't he do his doctorate on denying the holocaust? - and where is he now - making the first cease fire in a long time around here.

qualification: both his doctorate and the book, "The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism," were, as he explained to Haaretz not denying the holocaust. "I quoted an argument between historians in which various numbers of casualties were mentioned. One wrote there were 12 million victims and another wrote there were 800,000," "I have no desire to argue with the figures. The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind," he said.

Great review of Ahvak, the other band some guys in my band belong to at "Progressor in Uzbekistan.

January 25, 2005

When my cousin called yesterday to say his mother had just died, it meant immediate action. Sima died early in the morning and was buried in the afternoon. Now this is a woman who took me up even when I came here as a tourist in 1965, and with whom I felt great closeness for many years, and even though I had seen her only a week before and knew she was very very ill, it was still a shock. And at the funeral it was mentioned that she had lost all her family in the holocaust - i knew that and ignored it - but always was aware of her absolute loneliness and her strong will to make a new life. She swam every day, played piano every day - until late in her life, and never acknowledged her growing memory lapses.

So today is Tu'Bishvat, the birthday of the trees, we say. And the custom is to eat dried fruit. I started my day with dried sweetened ginger I'd bought in Teibe a few months ago. Lovely stuff, especially with tea. And then someone offered me some dried kiwi and that was nice too. When I first came here, and ate at my cousin's house, all there was were prunes and apricots. Leder - dried apricots - I always thought the name was Yiddish - like leather - but the source is Arab, isn't it.

January 26, 2005

Got taken away in the middle of a thought yesterday - but this time it stayed with me. I was thinking about a slim tall blond American friend of mine who went over the border from Israel to Egypt to go to Sinai a few years ago. He was expressly told that he was not allowed to bring food, but he had some pressed dried apricots in his duffel. Now he knew enough Hebrew to pick up girls in Tel Aviv and as much Arabic as any beach gigolo, so when the customs agent saw the package, and said "Shu Hada?" - what's this in Arabic - he came back right away with "Mishmish" - apricots in both Hebrew and Arabic. "Mishmish?" asked the agent. "You know," answered Jim, 'Bukra fil mishmish!'" Now that's an Arabic expression 'tomorrow when the apricots bloom' - which I assume means something different in Arabic then Hebrew adaptation. In Hebrew it is used to mean 'nothing.' As in, "Did you get any free samples from the cosmetics representative?" "Bukra fil mishmish! That's what I got!"
But the guard laughed and waved him through. So maybe it means the same thing in both cultures.

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