Tel Aviv Diary June 18-22, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - June 18-22, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

June 18, 2020

okay so we're back to being supercareful. why are we surprised? Everyone was going crazy from the moment they decided it was over.

our lives have changed very little. we've been too chicken to open up anyway. Not only have i avoided cafes, stayed meters away from my grandchildren, I've even been cutting my own hair,

But you know all about that, don't you? We're all flying the same flag - the white and blue corona mask. So let's talk about something more cheerful. We're celebrating the Jewish date of Leopold Bloom's birthday on June 25 on Zoom. Want to join in?

Come Celebrate Bloom’s Hebrew Day 3rd Tammuz 5780, Thursday 25th June 2020 7:00pm . Here's the overblown invitation!

James Joyce's Ulysses is positioned forever in temporal space as the dated 16th June 1904 which, as Bloom and every other Jew of reasonable goodness discerns, was the third day in that boreal month of summer, Dumuzid, known later in alternative form, preserved by the Hebrew anti-gods, Tammuz by name, that most ancient of gods Between-the-Rivers, the flow of fertility so great and mighty it washes upon our shores until this day, that consort, perhaps leading, of the goddess Inanna (more conversant as Ishtar) in the 5664th year since the Creation – or so we are imagined.

Being enthusiasts literary, or Jews - those Hebrews of old - or citizens of the relatively newly re-arisen State of Israel, those wrestlers by another river, smaller but even of more notability certainly nobility:

What fragments of verse from the ancient Hebrew and ancient Irish languages were cited with modulations of voice and translation of texts by guest to host and by host to guest?

we invite all, whether of Moses or Molly, whether of Ari or Aristotle, to join us in an evening in celebration of JAAJ recognized (perhaps) in his fullness as James Augustine Aloysius Joyce.

Choose, if choice be real or perhaps imaginary figment of mind beyond what matters, any piece of length not exceeding 3-4 minutes which equates somewhat to equivalent of 220 seconds on average, from any of his works beyond time both prose and poetry, both literary or imaginary.

Sign up here and as one we will exclaim together and in our separate selves, on Zoom and perhaps in Zooming, the unholy trinity - an almighty, unmodulated, even Irish accented: "YES! YES! YES!".

The point is, we have to preserve our humanity - and zoom may be crazy and invasive and no substitute for real life but it is at the moment one of the only means for reminding us how we were human before this pandemic.

June 19, 2020

Even though the numbers of infected are shooting up I had to go out today - my first time shopping - a strip mall - and crowded. it's a mall i know well, but a lot of the stores were gone or 'moving,' and there were sales i couldn't resist. my favorite coffee cups, for example. Friday afternoon is always the most crowded - and Ezi was home feeling rotten. i don't know what got into me, and i got out within half an hour overwhelmed with packages.

No clothes. i can't even look at clothes. The concept itself seems somehow irrelevant.

i even tried to put away winter clothes and take out summer stuff and found myself packing everything away.

I don't know why Ezi is feeling rotten - but it put a real fear into me. when the world has no one to trust - not even the world health organization - and no one sane in charge, we rely on ourselves, and that's what we have to watch.

June 20, 2020

i keep forgetting to invite you guys to the zooms i'm in, but tonight you were really lucky you didn't know. What a mess. the host didn't know how to shut everyone up - the participants (fortunately only 20 odd) were supposed to read poems but most of them didn't know how to get on, how to unmute themselves, how to look into the camera, a few didn't know it was their turn, the host read three of his own poems throughout the evening, and even though it is almost impossible to hear music on zoom, a singer sang 2 songs. i read a poem too and i was awful as well. thank goodness there was no audience because poets rarely listen to each other.

And now that we're going into isolation again we're going to be even more dependent on zoom.

So tomorrow is the Yiddish Beit Leyvick one here

I can't find the link for Wednesday. Thursday is the Hebrew Bloomsday here. It's in English and we're reading parts of Ulysses. I of course read at the end. Molly's monologue.

but i was just beginning to like the idea of meeting my friends, even though we've all become crazy in the interim, today we sat in the garden of some friends in the morning, at the proper distance of course, later in the day a couple came over and sat at a proper distance. the problem is that we are old people and i don't think we can really hear each other from a proper distance (what? what?), so maybe we would have been better off zooming.

June 21, 2020

what a mess we're in. i write mostly about how we are dealing with corona and don't mention the big chaos going on behind the mask. Bibi is planning this annexation and even though the rest of the world is against it, we haven't heard from the other parties on this specific subject until this moment. Gantz finally said something - that he would object to annexing the territories where there are Palestinian residents. At last an opinion. But now it is clear that the two prime ministers speak different languages. totally. and who will succeed? it looks like we're going to have elections after all - and now that Bibi has managed to rip apart all the opposition parties, we know who will win.

June 22, 2020

As time nears for another one of Ezi's treatments I become more and more paranoid about corona. we stopped going out except for our walks in empty streets. But today i had to mail a package. fortunately i had stamps and only had to put it in the post box. but the route took us through a street where there were people. and more than half of them weren't wearing masks. a few made an effort to keep distance but most of them simply didn't pay attention to the fact that we were passing them. Fathers and sons, Jews and Arabs. Men and women. i know the dangers are minimal but we have to take the car to be serviced tomorrow, and i'm not happy with even dropping it off.

don't forget to watch "Tehran." it is every scarier than my walk on the street today.


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