Tel Aviv Diary - June 4-8. 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary -June 4 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

the shuk is dirtier than I rebember - we have to have a conference on environmental awareness.

er just came back from a visit to the place where Oren had a restaurant - the piles of garbage have grown since then, and there is a sense of chaos and poverty on the streets. we need a to raise awareness.

Among all of this, however, were crowds and crowds of people skipping over the junk and plastic bags and enjoying themselves completely as they drink and east and buy stuff. The sense of pure content one layer over a pile of garbage.

We actually went to a concert in the house of Nir and ELana Brand, and we had a wonderful time as well. Nir and Elana are amazing hosts and I hope we get invited again soon.

The part that gets me most is the people. we take out enormous car to the parking lot, and the attendant tells me to get out of the car so Ezi can park closer. "Do I look that fat to you?" I say instinctively. "No," he says, "but the women always carry the money, so we can get the payment out of the way while he's manipulating the parking." This time, however, I'm not the one with the cash, so we wait for Ezi. "What are you up to this evening?" the attendant asks me in the meantime. "Business or pleasure?" "Pleasure." "Have a great time!"

June 5, 2019

Ezi's birthday started with a big bouquet of sunflowers from Oren. Let's see how it continues.

Don't marry a hyperactive spouse like me. After a comfortable breakfast clearly indicating that the birthday boy wanted a quiet day at home, he was dragged to the flea market and made to walk for hours in the hot sun and look at junk masquerading as antiques and souvenirs. after we waited for almost a quarter of an hour for our Aboulafia pitas - Ezi with a fried egg baked inside and me with a mushroom mix - we walked off to eat them somewhere else and I discovered that mine was too peppered to eat. Fortunately i had also bought a really greasy but sweet doughnut. what could save this visit? little carpets to put on either side of our bed. And just when we were going back to the car I saw what I thought was the perfect size, perfect design. only when I got home and placed them on the floor did I realize they were prayer rugs. The religious Jew who sold them to me must have laughed his head off.

Never mind. i got great reading glasses for 10 shekel.

And we got home in time to see the funeral of Nechama Rivlin on TV. I was very sorry about her anyway because she was the best model for the values of this society i admire and miss: honesty, simplicity, modesty, directness. she also liked poetry. But after I heard the interviews with people who knew her I was even sorrier. Everyone spoke of her humanity, her kindness, her understanding.

June 6, 2019

My mad physiotherapist says that everyone is so upset about the president's wife because she is so antithetical to the people in the government today. it's a warning, he says, but nothing will change.

June 7, 2019

We're moving into Shavuot this weekend - perhaps if i were in Jerusalem or if i were not facing an election distorted by religion among other things i would enjoy it more. perhaps if i had been invited to participate in the poetry festival in Metulla i'd be more exposed to the holiday. Tonight we had the children for dinner and tomorrow night we will be celebrating the evening of the holiday with friends, but the only religious institution i will enter in the next days will be the church in Abu Ghosh for a concert. I am disappointed in a way, and hope my friends will want to talk about the book of Ruth, about the first fruits, etc.

June 9, 2019

Where do intellectual Jews go on Shvuout? to hear choral music in the church. it is a grand affair, and very comfortable and convenient, with tickets online and shuttle busses and food and booths and all that. but so strange that we celebrate a holiday of the giving of the Torah, the first fruits, etc, with listening to songs about Jesus and the next life. How the religious have pushed the non-religious into a corner!

I skipped yesterday because I was very fed up with the whole conversation about whether a jew has to believe in God that we went round and round with at the table. Fourteen people close to my age discussing the question for a ten year old. Jews don't ask that question because it's a given that - it's not your business. who cares? its like we're going to get the answer by thinking hard enough.

for some reason there is no school tomorrow. it's a regular work day but no school. do you know what that means for the grandmothers in this country? you may never hear from me again?

but the stories are great. they went to a kibbutz today and sang songs for Shavuot and went on a hayride and did all the right things for this holiday. i'm relieved.

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