Tel Aviv Diary July 31, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - July 31 - August 4, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 31, 2008

If you're in Jerusalem, go see"Ronen Shapira hosts Eran Tzur" tonight at 8:30pm at the Confederation House. I wish i could be there.

I keep writing are erasing, something I don't allow myself usually. The usual censorship is that I can write anything that comes into my head but it has to respect the privacy of my family - all my family except Ezi. Ezi became my property when he hooked up with me by choice, but the rest of my family didn't choose me, so I don't disclose details. Here and there a friend will complain I don't write about her life, and she has such interesting things happen to her, but I'm not comfortable about divulging details. Suddenly today I started drafting gossip (maybe because I haven't had a chance to do it in real life for a long time)

Any if you're missing me, and want to see me in the past, here are some links:

the youtube sites

Panic Ensemble does Jewish Women

Panic Ensemble downloads

and you can listen to some different music with me, with Thin Lips or with Liz Magnes at: these links

August 1, 2008

What has made cooking such a popular television subject?

I was about to kvetch about all these cooking programs that fulfill the requirements for local programming but have nothing in them, I don't want to watch what I can't smell and taste and feel. The fact that someone puts a camera on a woman sniffing a pot and telling me the aroma is sweet is as much of a deception as the rest of the news. Maybe what is going on behind the camera is some crew holding their noses. Maybe there is a guy sweeping up the chicken that fell on the floor behind the counter. Maybe it IS good but someone else made it. There is no evidence on a cooking show that my senses can ratify. This somehow reminds me of the news. We don't know where it started, who's really doing the cooking or how it smells. And in any case, i like to pick my own ingredients.

August 2, 2008

After the long diatribe about not writing about my friends and family, I want to say something about my friend Linda's celebration of 30 years of coming to Israel. She was so happy about having arrived here as a zionist 30 years ago that she held the party in the Cameri theater. Mostly it was a joyous sing-a-long with Ronit Ophir, whose voice I have associated with this country for almost 40 years. (As I gushingly remind her every time we meet, I remember meeting her when, as a tourist, I visited my cousins, Sima and Nachum. She sat in their perfect little living room, a white dress with big red peonies spread about her, a perfect kibbutz young lady. I couldn't speak Hebrew, but I understood the conversation, that she was the daughter of a man who had been with my aunt in the partisans, was becoming a performer, and I looked at her enviously and wondered what would my life have been like had my parents then been allowed into Palestine.)

Hmmm...anyway...Ronit has an amazing public charm, a beautiful voice, and great character. But when Mira Awad came on stage and sang "There were nights!" I melted. It's a poem by Yakov Orland reminiscent of old English folk songs. here are the first two verses:

There were nights,
I remember them
I shall remember them
To the end of my days
In the paths
From Deganya to Kinnereth
A wagon stood
Heavy with my life

And he came to me
Listen to me little one
I have built you a home
And you in the evening
Will embroider a shirt for me
And in the days I will drive your wagon


Of course he disappears with her wagon while she's embroidering. But the placing of this song in the north, the pathos of the melody, make it incredibly haunting/ Esther Ofarim sings this song, so do Rita, Shoshana Arnon, and many others. You can find them on Youtube But when Mira Awad sang it, it seemed so true, like a real girl from the country with a complaint that encompasses her entire world.

August 4, 2008

Guess what - my Dell is going again. Fourth time since November when I bought it. So I may not be able to keep writing for a few days. On the other hand, my Lenovo is coming back from the shop soon, and just may be back in time to keep me writing without a break. I'm also way behing in emails.

A morning in the hospital - refreshing because I know the patient is pretty much feeling good. I have even become a bit of a care-giver-trainer, just because i've been through so much so often, i can do it easily. For example, when I was standing in line to get Ezi registered, half an hour today because there were so many people and problems, there was one man who barely spoke Hebrew and couldn't understand what was being required of him. He needed a form from the insurance that approved payment for hospitalization, and he was in the wrong place, and holding up a lot of others - like me. So I took him over to the insurance offices. Then I came back and resumed my place in line, having eased my back with the walk. Then - when I finally got the bar-code stickers needed for registering blood tests - I got sent by the nurses to show a Sabra (who was taking care of her mother) where to order the chemo and to pick up another patients chemo. On the way back I got asked by a Druze man what the procedure was. Then, after a few words with a frightened old man in Yiddish, I had a talk with an English-speaking religious woman about the wisdom of her Rebbe's advice (he said eat lots of liver to keep your strength up while you're getting chemo). By the time I left the hospital this morning I had been through conversations in three languages and stammered through two more.

After that I had a meeting at the Federation of Writers' Unions where once again the budget has been cut (on the theory that all these languages are not really central to our culture I guess.

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