Tel Aviv Diary March 18-22, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 18-22, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 18, 2016

Started today with a moral question: There is a rabbi who claims the Gaza tunnels are collapsing as a result of his prayers. Let us assume for a moment that prayers work. Would you pray for the destruction of an enemy? I came the conclusion that I couldn't. The best I could do would be to pray for peace talks.

March 19, 2016

we seem to have a lot of visitors lately - short term, but intense. But this is a good time for touring. Better than in Istanbul. The weather's great - drought is good for touring - and things seem quiet. We took a bike ride in the fields around town today - filled with daisies and butterflies - so deceptively idyllic.

March 20, 2016

"Bad Jews" the play by Joshua Harmon about Jewish identity has been playing herefor a while, but we keep missing it. Once we were parking at the theater and a fight broke out between two people who wanted the same parking space and blocked all the other cars from getting into the lower floors of the parking garage. We went home instead, declaring we had seen the real "Bad Jews." Anyway we finally went this afternoon. I didn't realize the theater would be full of high schoolers, but that only interfered with the play once when a kid tried to do a selfie from the audience with his back to the stage... Anyway the play was good, and had great juicy dialogue, but to me it was - as they say in Hebrew - grinding water. I was surprised that for my partner this was not the case. Even though the play was more about how one identifies oneself as a Jew in today's permissive society, the program of the play was full of articles about (wait for it) "What is a Jew?" And he read them all.

When I was working my way through college I got a job teaching a pair of kids about Judaism. On the first day i decided I should ask the question what distinguishes Judaism from other major religions, and I said that it was the only major religion not named after the divinity or a prophet; that is was named after a people. I remember that class because I became conscious that the parents were hiding behind the door listening and the next day I was informed that I was fired.

but i still think that i was right.

March 21, 2016

Purim Poem. I think maybe Vivian Eden went too far with my poem. I was just pointing out that maybe the book of Esther went too far. That massacre that Esther incited is taking the concept of justice too far. But what bothers me is the fact that we're celebrating the death of people. Sometimes killing is inevitable, but it should not make anyone happy.

March 22, 2016

What bad timing! After my righteous little speech about not killing I don't know a single European who wouldn't wring the necks of everyone in Isis while - as they say in Yiddish - singing a little ditty (noch mit a nigun).

Of course it had to happen. Of course. Isis is high tech and running circles around the poor naive ones in the world, including us. And they knew to hit the softest spot in Western society, with almost no army, with almost no organization, no intelligence. And it's in the middle of everything.

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