Tel Aviv Diary January 16 -20, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 16, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 16, 2006

Got to take the bus from Jerusalem today - i hadn't done that in ages and couldnt even identify the station when we passed it/ But that was because the entrance is small and looks like that of an indoor parking lot. Once you get past all the security, you begin to get into the atmosphere of exotic travel. The escalators, the shops, the long walk to the busses are all redolent of airports, and there is a similar excitement in the air. The trip itself was uneventful, placid and even fun. But the company helped that.

By the way, my car is fine (and its condition is not the reason i didn't drive to Jerusalem). Furthermore, all the bumps it has received are going to be fixed tomorrow, courtesy of the people who ran into me.

Forgot to remind you that Sharon Moldavi is appearing tomorrow. With Shif Arad. Tuesday at Tau on 1 Hertzl Street at 10:30 p.m.

שרון מולדאבי – מופע אקוסטי בליווי שיף ערד יום שלישי, 17.1, טאו (הרצל 1, תל אביב) 22:30

הכניסה חופשית

If i can make it i'll be there.

Notice I'm not saying anything about Hebron. Here's a picture of Ezi's grandmother and her cousins who lived there.

They left before the slaughter - at least most of them did.

Today Moti sent me a whole bunch of pictures from Auschwitz - I don't know what I did to him to deserve it - but there were a lot of photographs of people waiting in line to the gas chambers. I couldn't help but look for my own aunt, Batya. But since no pictures of her as an adult survive, I wouldn't have recognized her anyway. Jeez - I don't know where this shmaltz in me is coming from.

January 17, 2006

The mess in Hebron is making me generalize into a dislike for the very religious. Today I found myself in Bnai Brak, standing next to two young women who were speaking Yiddish. It was a very dirty, ugly Yiddish, and seemed to me almost a purposeful slurring and distortion of that accurate and lovely language of feelings. All my anger against the fanaticization of Israel focused on the language of these two young housewives, and I controlled myself with great difficulty.

We got called to do an audition for the Israel Festival - a pretty civilized and friendly affair. There were the groups in competition, each involved in the worlds they were going to create in fifteen minutes on the stage, and yet friendly and willing to share equipment, and even compliments. Our own presentation included an instrumental playback of "Nghthawks" in which Yael sang in the center and I, from a relative corner on the stage, recited some poems. At the height of my isolation, Iris who has been dancing her interpretations of the feeling of separateness, approaches me and draws me into a dance - a strange duet in which the focus is on our eyes... later, from offstage, i see her collapsing to the poem of how my parents died separately in the arms of strangers, and run out to keep her from falling. In the dance I counter soome of the agonies i discuss in my poems. it's kind of theraputic. The women in the production are also theraputic.

I don't know if we made it through the finals - and actually i don't think it matters - It was such an experience.

January 18, 2006

I PLANNED to vote yesterday, but by the time i got my car out of the repair shop I was wiped out. Anyway things turned out more or less the same - the academics are in and so is Nadia Khilu, so I'm satisfied. "What?" my friends asked last night when I complained that I'd missed the voting, "You haven't joined Kadima?"

January 19, 2006

Some answers to your questions about the family photo: Baba is standing next to the tree. I think they were dressed up for Purim, but the biblical attire must have been popular at the turn of the century for staged photos - we have lots of photographs with men in biblical and/or beduin dress.

I was just abou to do another nostalgic piece, but there was an explosion in neve shaanan, the old bus station, near where our performance was on Saturday. I don't think it was terrible, but i have to check it out.

January 20, 2006

I don't know who got injured yesterday, but some of them are in bad shape so the kind of relief and indifference we seem to be showing is incomprehensible. I mean i sat in a crowded cafe on dizengoff today, with people walking in and out all the time looking for a place to sit, but no guard. No guard.

Amos' operation was a success - so far - he's moving his arms and legs.

I complain a lot in this context - politics, bourgeoisie, bad literature. But until i complained about bad Yiddish my friends didn't bother me. And I won't take it back. There's something unaesthetic about the sound and the grammar of Haredi Yiddish. I know it's supposed to contrast to the refined and exhalted Holy Tongue but i don't like it just the same.

And once again we found ourselves on Dizengoff this evening and once again in an eating situation and once again I note the relaxed atmosphere. "Why is there no reaction to a terrorist attack?" I ask the family. And one of my kids notes, "Maybe it's like when we lived in that messy apartment in NY, and we didn't notice when the place was robbed." Ah from the mouths of babes.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home