Tel Aviv Diary March 21-25, 2007- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 21, 2007 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 21, 2007


I'd better repost yesterday's announcement so I don't forget about it:

I have no idea what this literary event is going to be like. I only know that this afternoon on "The Zohar, Poetry and the Portion of the week" is going to be interesting. At the Writers' House on 6 Kaplan Street on March 30, Orna Rav-Hon is going to host Rafi Weichert, Gad Yacobi, Meiron Isaacson and me and we're going to read poetry. The point of the whole event i think is to create more positive vibrations at the Writers' House which has been in great disarray for years primarily due to bad feelings. It's at 11 next Friday morning.

First day of spring - We picked up shusha so are forced to go outside and cope with the changing weather - which is a very good thing today. Yesterday was heavy, with a little rain when we tried to get outside for a moment. The desert was in the air - and it will be back soon.

And because today is Nizzar Kabbani's birthday, here - is a link to "Letter from a Stupid Woman".

What wonderful sights did I see in America, you ask? Aren't there any pictures of N.Y.?

Okay, well with my promise of family privacy, and my disinterest in standard things, I don't have much to show. But I dragged the always uncomplaining Ezi to Allen Ginsberg's grave so we could see his Aunt Rose's grave. And as you see Aunt Rose's married name is one well-known in Israel.

Who knows? He may be the next Prime Minister!

In the mean time, in case you haven't heard, "Faun Fables" is coming to Israel and "Panic" is opening for them.

Of course this is only if you're a real groupie of mine.

March 22, 2007

(Courtesy as usual of Ezra Gut)

Allen Ginsberg's Grave.

"Poet of the generation," it says in Hebrew. And then "Striving for individuality." "Yisrael Avraham ben Yehuda Leib and Naomi."

On a completely different note - i am still carrying the germs I caught in NY and so find it difficult to get into the scene back home. Even though I've heard enough scoops to fill a whole newspaper since I've been here.

But my literary fascinations are not confined to Newark, NJ. A close friend of mine is going to be surprised tomorrow with a birthday tour, that is, a tour arranged for her birthday, "In the Foot Steps of Alterman." It's going to pour, so I don't know how we will learn about poetry and life, and I doubt whether she'll be surprised because I made the mistake of replying to the group just now when I got an email about it and tried to explain it away when she asked me about it.

Why do I not fear that this entry will not give the secret away again? Because these Hebrew-speaking friends do not deign to read Christian. And I've never told them about my diary!

March 24, 2007

Our guide was Shlomo Mussman who was very entertaining. And as he walked us around the Yarkon-Allenby-Bialik neighborhood we all know, he sang and recited poems from Alterman, slicing them in between anecdotes. The day was perfect for a little walk, clear and bright, and the beach and promenade were full of people. And it is always wonderful to examine the varied architecture of the city and tell stories about our histories here. But I don't like Alterman any more than I did before.

One fact I learned - that on the old 200 shekel note, the picture of Zalman Shazar is accompanied by a Bialik poem about his first day of school - because Zalman Shazar as minister of education introduced the law of mandatory schooling. Now there's a more 'appropriate' speech of Shazar. Bialik has been 'our national poet' for so many years, but today, as i looked at his pretentious and extreme house, i thought that the concept of what is allowed to be done with public funds today is nothing to what went on then. Okay, the Jewish people were incredibly proud that the Hebrew language was back, and that a culture was being reborn, and rewarded him. In the past I've written about Beit Bialik with great joy and respect, but in the light of the corruption stories coming out around us, I suddenly saw Bialik's house from that angle. I'll have to think about this some more when i'm not so tired.

March 25, 2007

My holiday shopping is limited by my health, so I go to Netsal on line which has made life much easier. I order at night and in the morning the groceries arrive. But not without that occasional phone call from some clerk that some things are not available. Today a girl's voice with a very thick Arabic accent called to tell me that the tonic water I ordered will not be delivered because it is not 'kosher for passover.' But the chametz cakes were fine. Interesting.

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