Tel Aviv Diary - July 15-19. 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary -July 15-19, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 15, 2019

there was a program on tv last night with Avri Gilad called "what would you do?" and they staged a situation in a bridal studio where an obviously battered bride is in the throes of regret about the coming wedding. there were people who saw what was happening and left. there must have been numerous repetitions of that scene, but immediately after they showed two other incidents where witnesses who saw the marks on her neck spoke to the mother and/or the owner of the salon and/or the groom and did what they could to prevent the marriage. the next scenes were in a restaurant of a kashrut mashgiah (a supervisor who makes sure the food is kosher) who comes in and asks that the Ethiopians not touch the food they were preparing because their Judaism was in question and that would render the food non-kosher. again, some people did not interfere, but others did - loudly and aggressively. It was one of the first attributes of this society I admired - their intervention in public places on everything. i was thrilled with the program even though no one else i know could bear it.

July 16, 2019

I don't go to supermarkets because my back can't take all the bending and stretching and waiting in lines (even though now with the electronic check-outs that no one else uses I can zip through). Anyway i buy my groceries online. and sometimes the same guy comes around with them for a few months. For about a year there was a Russian guy and then a series of Arab teenagers and now an Arab guy who knows exactly what to do. i bring out my tea cart to the door - he puts the content of the top box on the top and the bottom on the bottom, we exchange a few blessings and a tip and i wheel my cart to the fridge. i could have him being the groceries to the fridge but that would mean shlepping and we've figured out how to do this painlessly. i really like him and i wish everything could work so easily in our country.

that doesn't mean I stay home. i run around all day - especially today since we are supposed to stay home tomorrow because of the unusual dry heat. Sharav - characteristic of the fall - has decided to hit us in the spring, making our day so hot and dry that people have been warned to stay inside. What about the guy who delivers my groceries? Well, he has been told to drink a lot of water while shlepping those groceries. right.

July 17, 2019

Because our street is being torn apart we couldn't get the car out of the driveway and i'm still hoping they'll restore an entrance by 4. this has been going on for months and today has been the worst - right underneath my window, the sidewalk is being torn up. And the street will not be finished until March.

But of course, the street is the least of our worries. the country is on fire. we were going to go to a party in Jerusalem this evening but we'll be following the fire warnings. i spent the morning preparing a reading for my friend's birthday and now i fear i will be spending the evening translating medieval poetry.

July 18, 2019

So much that needs to be clarified in history. Yesterday someone was telling about the museum of archeology in Jericho in which there is no evidence the Jews lived here. And so much of our revision of history is connected to winners. of course the winners get to write the history, the general picture. But it's also true that the winners are always men, and the stories of women seem irrelevant. Yet an article about menstuation and the holocaust that speaks primarily of technical issues, like rags and amenorrhea and "operations" suddenly illuminated so much to me about the role of mothers in Israel - even today Take a look and tell me what you think.

That's why i believe in the truth only in details.

July 19, 2019

Where to begin? i am now getting that i have to keep a journal in order to understand life, not like Sylvia Plath once wrote that a writer keeps a journal the way an athlete exercises every day - to perfect her art. i don't think i'm getting to be a better writer but i do understand life a bit more from writing it down. Sometimes i write down an opinion and exercise strong beliefs and then the next day i get another detail that turns the situation around and deflates my opinion entirely. Ny gut reaction to the announcement that 12 israelis raped a british tourist in cyprus was that it must be a mistake, that our boys have better educations than that. Then i realized I had never had a conversation about respect and sex with any of my kids or grandchildren. how did they get their values? and yet they do have values - and sometimes these values confllct with those of the society. Definitions of masculinity, for example. But it is so confusing - the media seems to flatten and simplify the concept of sex. i was pleased with the series of "Sex Education" that takes place in Wales because it works with the complexity of sexual identity - although much less of women than of men. diary

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