Tel Aviv Diary - March 14, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 14-18, 2010 Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 14, 2010

At lunch today with Debby, who works at the Hebrew Translation Institute, she told me that "Ghetto" doesn't go over big in the U.S. It's big in Europe, but the Americans don't seem to go for Israeli Literature. Maybe that's why the review in the New York Times over twenty years ago complained so much about Ghetto. But I think it is primarily a problem of how to translate the experience that works so well in Hebrew to a local audience to one that does not have the facts about the Vilna Ghetto to bounce off. I'd say it is time to retranslate, contextualize, and reproduce it.

March 15, 2010

"Beware the Ides of March," the seer warns Caesar, but I didn't realize until today that this day is not only the day he was murdered but also a celebration of the god of War. We are exceedingly involved in letting loose the dogs of war around here today, and I can't wait for a new day to begin. Maybe it will happen the way the weather changed today - as I walked into the front of the administration building it was hamsin - hot and dusty and the sky was beige, but when i walked out the back door one minute later it was grey and cool and i could breathe.

March 16, 2010

Ever had felafel at "Hakosem" on King George? I was waiting in line like at the soup nazis, and wondering how it could be worth the wait, when they passed a bowl of felafel back for the hungry waiters.


There was kubbeh too, and I got two, then two more please and maybe... "Four's the limit," he said laughing.

Ever notice the dog schedule on Ben Zion avenue? The evening is when all owners take their dogs - lots of guys with german shepherds and danes, and more often enormous mutts, each with their unique shapes - lots of girls with mid-size dogs, of infinite shapes and characters - and lots of older women with bitsy ones like mine. There is almost no conflict, only a joy to feel the evening air. The peace that fills the air is in such contrast to the news around us, with all the gratuitous hatred. It is almost impossible to believe that it is going on only a few kilometers away.

March 17, 2010

We seem to be getting a lot of flak lately. Some with good reason, some really not deserved. Take the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue, for example, which has created a "Day of Rage" on the part of Arab residents. According to Wikipedia, this synagogue was around for a very long time before it was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948 and there is a good reason to rebuild it and rededicate it. But there is no reason to do it right now, when tensions are so high about building in Jerusalem. No synagogue is that important that it can't be moved, delayed, or just quietly used.

Panic Ensemble performed tonight. It was the most moving and exciting performance since their beginning and even though I had to drag my body out of bed to get there I enjoyed every minute of it - the new songs are amazing and the older ones were even greater than ever.

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