Tel Aviv Diary January 23-27, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 23-27, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 23, 2016

Rotten, rainy day. Brunch with a group of wonderful people made it easier, and watching reruns of "scriptwriter"made me envious of Sayyed Kashua's ability to cut through shit.

you can see the first one here. The one I was watching was about his looking for his 'roots'. An Israeli Arab looking for his roots is in itself fascinating, and he is a great storyteller.

January 24, 2016

While we wait madly to see what is happening with Shimon Peres' health, I want to think about something else, the film about Ohad Naharin. We saw the "<ä href=">film late last night, and even though we were totally exhausted from a long long shabbat, we were totally fascinated. the idea of finding movement outside our usual limits is not only about art, it is about politics, and about thinking creatively the way Israelis were originally helped to think.

Peres thinks that way.

January 25, 2016

We are having storm troubles too. Electrical outages, snow cancellations, etc. They aren't personally problematic and I haven't cancelled anything, but everyone is talking about it. what do I do? here's an example or two. Yesterday I picked up Omer from kindergarten - he is in a school that contains eight other classes. There is another group of 8 kindergartens a few steps away and a couple of private nurseries on this street. So there is an incredible traffic jam on this street every afternoon as the parents come to pick up the children. In the rain even those who live close by prefer to drive, so the possibilities of parking are small. We deal with this by going together and parking far away. Sometimes Ezi lets me off at the entrance. sometimes i walk for blocks. There is an armed guard at the entrance. I climb up the steps past him and then go in the front door of a building. Then I walk out the back door, cross the playgrounds, go into another building, up the stairs and then into one of the rooms, where Omer is usually in the middle of some activity. We finish the activity, and begin gathering his sweater, coat, schoolbag, water bottle, and umbrella. once we get back to the car, wherever it is, we drive to Tamar's nursery which is not terribly far away, but difficult to get to by car. it takes about 10 minutes by car, probably less by foot. Then I find a place to park (see last week) and walk with Omer to the entrance, where he enters the code on the door, which brings us to a courtyard. there we knock on a door and wait for someone to hear us. We enter, and help Tamar get on her socks and shoes, sweater and coat (yes she could do it herself but not when there is an envious audience of colleagues), and then get her out to the car.

In a nice day, when you can walk, this may be a time consuming but pleasant Tel Aviv jaunt. In the rain, the playground is flooded, the courtyard is a big puddle, and cars splash. But I must say in praise of the children, even in the rain, they seem expert at skipping over dog do.

A couple of you have written asking about why i don't put up poetry any more. Well, I'm a little afraid of my poems. Here's one:

She has a knife
she has a knife
she is young, thin, small,
holding a knife
Her arm is raised
her Hijab
highlights her eyes
They fix on me
She is running
with a knife
She is a child
she wants to kill
her arm is raised
the knife points at me
she has a knife
I have a gun

January 27, 2016

We got home too late from an MRI with Orit. It was already the next day according to the computer and not worth writing. People around here complain about long waits, but the secretary who registered her warned her that it would be half an hour, and in half an hour she went in. Then we went down to grab a salad in the cafe before it closed, and managed to get Orit a salad too. After another half an hour she came down, and then we waited another half an hour for the disk, and went home. The results go automatically to her doctor, who will call her today. That seems fair to me.

It was a day of doctors. We spent the morning on vein ultrasounds in another part of town that wasn't as speedy, but still pretty efficient. Of course I'd rather be in a museum or walking the streets or maybe in a cool cafe, but if we have to have tests, it's pretty painless. No terrible long waits, not even for the appointment.

And if I promised to meet you for dinner one evening, I hope we'll be able to do it soon. Orit will be able to walk by herself soon, and we'll be finished with our medical rounds for the time being. If someone wants to go with us to the exhibit next week, let me know.

January 27, 2016

Am I against government censorship of the arts? of course. But I also don't see why a government should fund anti-patriotic arts. Not that I think criticism of the government shouldn't be criticized. In fact I think it is critical to change the government. We may already have passed the point of no return.

For International Holocaust Day I put this poem on Facebook.


My parents would never go back to Lida
For them it was a grave, an open pit
They had escaped once
That would swallow them whole
Should they ever draw near.
There was nothing she could tell me
Without crying, even about the house
In the market place, the chickens
In the yard, the synagogue next door
for which Grandfather would wake the neighbors
banging on their shutters, “Prayers, Jews!”
And my father too said nothing:
Even though their parents lived next door
And the grandmothers met on their doorsteps each dusk
To share their moment of air and perhaps
The gossip of the day.

So many years of Lida! So many
Bodies of so many hearts no longer beating!
Rarely was any one name on the lips of my mother
Without all the others pouring from her eyes.
And for me too, it is impossible to return
And not to.

(first appeared in Jerusalem Review 9)

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