Tel Aviv Diary - June 18-22 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

poetry reading - june 29 - tmol shilshom - 7:00 p.m. jerusalem

Tel Aviv Diary - June 18-22, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

June 18, 2009

I never really understand surveys. They always seem like they hold more secrets then they reveal. So today's Pfizer news about sex habits around the world and how often Israelis have sex on Ynet today bothers me. We seem to have sex a lot, but we say it's not enough. I think that when the surveys are local, like this one we come off better.

So sex is the least of our problems. That's a small comfort.

Actually we have our finger on the pulse all the time on this subject. Whenever something important happens, there's a sex survey to see how we react. In the Gulf war almost 2 decades ago, there were strong indications of impotence (totally parallel to the feeling of not being able to do anything about being bombed). After the first Lebanon war there was a baby boomlet. etc. etc. etc. In other words, our intimate lives are determined by Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, etc.

And I'm sure the Palestinians react similarly.

June 19, 2009

Jewish Partisans from World War II are now being prosecuted in Lithuania. It seems part of a denial of the Holocaust because the argument is that these "Soviets" (since all Jews were Soviets) killed Lithuanian citizens. I've written about this before but

this story was made immediate to me by a ceremony to honor Rachel Margolis at Beit Leyvick today. The children who form the group at Beit Leyvick sang the Partisan Song and we in the audience melted.

The audience by the way was composed mostly of Partisans, and their praise of Rachel MArgolis stemmed not from her military activities, which were not agressive, but from her archival work in preserving documentation of Lithuanian participation in atrocities. This is something my mother always asserted - that the Lithuanians were far more ardent than the Nazis and took great pleasure in their 'work.' I'll try to post some links to the Leyvick pictures soon.

June 20, 2009

Last night we had dinner at Pappa's. As usual I thought i must be prejudiced because I have a special relationship with the place, but the food was amazing. I had the fish which is never my favorite food, and I loved it. Tonight we had dinner at Dubnov 8, a really lovely environment, and the hamburger was okay. The hot roast beef sandwich Ezi had, on the other hand, was shameful. Two slices of fatty roast beef, with no sauce, on bread. And twice as much money as the fish at Pappa's. I will never understand how people bear bad food in restaurants.

June 21, 2009

First day of summer and you can't tell the difference. The sweating has, if anything, diminished a bit since yesterday. I spent the day on usual maintenance, and when i got back there was an email from Robert Whitehill responding to my questioning response to his congratulations of a poem on ynet it's a hebrew translation of an english poem about yom kippur: Ynet and reminded me of some others in English that have been appearing: The Belt Why I don't write formal verse there are some others but i don't remember... This is a good day to begin a vacation, but i'm still teaching and will really only start in a few weeks. Let's think about the whole idea of vacation...

June 22, 2009

One day body odor will go back into style. I mean with global warming and a water shortage around here we've got no choice, have we. And today with another heat wave i was moving from institution to institution, meeting all kinds of people, and it wasn't pleasant. The air conditioner in the hemotology ward was on the blink and everyone was very nervous. Very nervous. And of course at the university the semester is officially over so whoever showed up for the extra make-up classes was not in the best of moods what with all this heat.

Actually it was probably only me, suddenly very sensitive to the weather. And there were places at the university where i found myself in paradise today, under a gorgeous jacaronda tree that shaded and cooled and comforted all at once. There was a physiology student sitting under the tree with her sandwich, wearing a veil, a long skirt, long sleeves blouse and a jacket, and I said to her - at least you've found the best place in the neighborhood to cool off, and she said to me - You're just not drinking enough.

She was right - by the time i got home I was nauseous and weak, and although i wasn't thirsty i forced a quart of water into me. Then I took a shower.

And then I turned on the AC and life began to look bearable. Maybe I was just suffocating in my own sweat.

"Use tomorrow for all your errands," the weatherman says. "I know it will be hot. But the day after will be even hotter."

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