Tel Aviv Diary June 4-8, 2007- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - June 4-8, 2007

June 4, 2007

Someone asked me today why I write so much about Arabs when I live so much with Jews, and know comparatively little about Arabs. I suppose it is because the biggest surprise people have who don't live here is the fact that Arabs here are our beauty queens, our actors, our writers, our shopkeepers, as well as Jews. If twenty percent of our population are Arab, then they are under-represented in my daily life, but they are definitely here. And it makes that idea of 'apartheid' questionable.

June 5, 2007

Because it was Ezi's birthday today I absolutely didn't have time to write - but i did a few surveys among all the people i met today about whether I should take off the pages of this diary the names of the people responsible for the boycott. My main question was whether it is 'cost-effective,' whether it can do any good to write to people who are opposed to your way of thinking, and whether the addresses will be used negatively, to send hate mail, which would reinforce the negative opinions and would be counter productive. Most of my friends said that making such a political decision invites discussion. The others laughed at me for thinking that mine is the only site with these addresses and that I have such an influence on others.

I'll make a decision in the morning.

June 6, 2007

I decided to do it. Just because someone wrote me that these people are being harassed and it does no good.

And there are far bigger problems to deal with around here.

Although at the moment, except for the threat of an atom bomb from Iran, war from Syria, and global warming, life seems also normal. This is a season of parties, readings, shows, and great activity. Because the semester should have been over with, I planned a rich vacation and can only cancel a little of it. So I'm overbooked.

June 7, 2007

Shopping. Ramat Aviv. Yesterday I had to get something in the middle of the morning and suddenly remembered the last time I was at Macy's in New Jersey - empty parking lot, a few bored ladies poking around, some young men in a hurry... that was it. But the parking lot garage was crowded in Ramat Aviv,and the shops were filled with all manner of people. A woman in a wig and pillbox hat was dragging her black-suited husband through the housewares, two women in traditional Muslim dress were picking out blouses at Zara's, groups of elderly peoples were leaning back in the armchairs of the cafes, and all over people of all ages in jeans and t-shirts were carrying colorful packages. Me, I just returned a sheet I bought for Oren, couldn't get into the consumer mood.

Remember Yishay Sommer, the bass player for Thin Lips (my group)? He's now in Shovavim and they are the song of the week on Ynet with their typically Tel Aviv prayer, God, get me a parking place!

June 8, 2007

As I found myself stuck in traffic for an incredible amount of time today, I spent my time trying to remember some of the Hungarian curses my late father-in-law taught me, and didn't remember at all that it is gay pride day in Tel Aviv and there is no point even trying to get through by car. ButI finally made it to the cafe in Ben Yehuda where my meeting was. That was when I remembered the prayer from the Shovavim and pleaded with God for parking. He listened. And I was only half an hour late. However, my brother, Joe Rosenstein, reminded me that in his new siddur, et ratzon, he explains that we can't expect God to answer all prayers, and notes the potential criticism, "If God won't even get my a parking space, what purpose does God serve?" (p.1) He finds the solution to this question by broadening the concept of what prayer is, and all the wonders that God actually gives us. But I, at that very moment, was also very happy He had remembered me on a Friday afternoon in a hot Tel Aviv.

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