Tel Aviv Diary January 18-22, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 18-22, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 18, 2016

Daphna Neir (z"l) seems to have been a truly wonderful person, and her death at the hands of an unknown terrorist at her front door, is incredibly evil. And now the terrorist is still loose and is probably planning to kill another housewife as soon as he can. No matter how one can make a case for the pain of Palestinians this kind of murder cannot make sense.

Dizengoff today was dreadful. The strange brown dust blowing over the country makes it hard to see, hard to breathe. One of my favorite streets, and all i could think about was the murder two and half weeks ago. The brown dust covers us all.

January 19, 2016

Because of the exhibit opening on Friday we have been incredibly busy, reprinting photographs, trying not to rewrite the poems, and trying to remember all the stuff I read all these years: Darwin, Melville, Attenborough (view online here; Today we went to Jaffa to pick up some prints. "How much are you selling these for?" the printer asked. Never thought of it before. Some were stolen from the last exhibit and cost hundreds to replace. I guess I think of art as a gift. Not just for the artist.

The new Jerusalem Review is out. I was thrilled when I heard and raced to meet the editor to pick up some copies. But I found the two others in a state of depression. They put themselves in deep debt to get this issue out. there are some amazing works in it, but it will never appear again if every one who promised money continues to cease to deliver. Even the government promised funding and disappeared when the bills came in. So this journal, for which i have been gathering material and translating for years, may well be finished.

My Hebrew publisher has given up - Keshev has published hundreds of poetry books,and is running out of energy, money, and faith. You can see the astounding production here. One would think a growing culture would beg to help out, but it hasn't worked that way.

January 20, 2016

As I began to get really tired of looking for parking in the Yemenite Quarter, and I began to get worried about getting my granddaughter out of her nursery school before closing, I spotted a construction worker standing on a scaffolding at a crossroads. I've seen him before, and i thought maybe we had exchanged a few words. "Do you see a place for me to park?" I called out, and he looked around from his perspective. "What does she want?"another worker called out Arabic. "Parking,"he answered, and pointed me in the direction of the nursery school to a perfect spot. I raced in, thinking I'd thank him later, but by the time I'd put on her shoes and coat, plus the socks of one of her friends, and made it back to the street, the workers had knocked off for the day. I thought to myself that it is possible that they had to stop because it gets dark early, but maybe they just had far to go to get to the village.

January 21, 2016

The Jerusalem Review is out and can be purchased Here

January 21, 2016

This is a day to remember. Even though no one in my family or any of my close friends are coming to the exhibit tomorrow and I've wasted money on uneaten refreshments I learned how to get an exhibit together. Every one of the people we dealt with - printers, caterers, bromides, booksellers - was scared to death of the income tax people. Every one had a terrifying story. After all these stories we've been keeping all receipts and are working at a great loss and will give everything to our accountant. So I'm pretty sure the income tax people will have to give us money back.

January 22, 2016

Every day I learn something. Today I learned, as Avichai Kimchi told me, that I'm terrible at PR. There weren't too many people at the opening, and yet I was enthralled with the way it looks and feels. I'll be back to visit soon and often.

There is something else I learned - Jerusalem is full of secrets that reveal themselves just for the asking. We went to Dvorah Netzer's place for lunch after the exhibit, and with all the books about Kafka lying around, I could not help but ask her about her late mother-in-law, Pua Netzer, who taught Kafka Hebrew. I seemed to remember that Pua was not interested in him, and dumped him because she wanted to go back to Palestine and contribute to the building of the country, and he was too sickly to go. But Dvorah said that ,pin her last weeks while she was in and out of consciousness, Pua spoke of him constantly, not of her late husband. She said much more, but I am still digesting this extraordinary fact.

Suddenly a memory of Pua came to my mind. She had been delivering the book she wrote to my mother-in-law when I came in, and even before I walked into the room I felt her imperious presence. Just now I felt that presence again.

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