Tel Aviv Diary March 23-27, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 23, 2008

Because we are anticipating terrorist attacks nowadays, I revert to my old habit of sizing up every place I visit for safety. The hospital, I figure, must be at least 30% Arab, so only a madman would.... wait a minute, who are these terrorists anyway? Why would they take this into consideration?

So every day on my way I pass by the intensive care ward, and then - next door on the same hall - the delivery room, where rows of people are waiting for someone to be coming or going, and of course it makes you wonder. There they are lined up waiting - all the denominations in this country, all the colors, all the extremes, waiting for news of someone.

March 24, 2008

Okay. We're home. For the time being.

So back to a tel aviv state of mind.

I've been meaning to write about >Shlomo Zand's book. You can read about it in this link. But history doesn't really appeal to me. I don't care which narrative we construct about the past as long as it allows a viable future. And one of the narratives I like most - from Paul Wexler's research and others, including Shlomo Zand, is the fact that all Jews were never exiled from this land, that only the troublemakers were sent to Babylon, and that the Jews who remained behind converted to Islam when it came about. This of course makes the Palestinians our cousins. And, as I have suggested, all we have to do is declare them all Jewish and our problems are over. I know it's just a story but just as believable as some of the others.

March 25, 2008

Now that the heat wave is breaking up, we may be able to go out somewhere beyond those dusty window blinds. It happens every year around Passover, this hot, dusty wind that goes on for days - usually just after the major spring cleaning. This year it is early - or well our calendar is late. I mean of course that we add on another month to catch up. For example, I was born just after the night of the second seder. My mother had just finished washing the dishes and they were getting ready for bed when her water broke. My father tired, and fearful of the buzzbombs, recommended that they wait until morning, but she was insistent. So they made their way to Hackney hospital and got there just as the bombs started falling. From what I gathered, I may have managed to be born in the hospital, but we were moved seconds later for our safety to the nearby shelters. Anyway, that was in March 29 then. This year my birthday is in 4 days but we have 3 weeks until Passover.

March 26,2008

Dont forget thatPanic is playing in Tmunah tonight.

The hot brown desert wind has passed, leaving us with what looks like pleasant spring weather. I am looking out the window at a pigeon who is looking at me, with great sadness. When I saw her roosting in my avocado plant, I got scared of the lice. So i chased her away and then moved the avocado plant downstairs just below the window, so she could find the two eggs she left behind. But she couldn't figure it out, perched in the near by pine tree and looked and cooed. So we elevated the tree to a half way point on a shelf. But she still didn't catch on, and by now the eggs are probably ruined. I'm still conscious-struck.

For someone who is going to be spending some time in Ichilov from today, But as we say in yiddish, " "lomir reden fun freilecher zachen." "Let's talk about happier things." This comes after a long conversation between Tevye about the tragedies in their lives and their families, about Hodel's marriage outside the faith and her moving to Siberia, "Let's talk about happier matters,.. what do you think of the cholera in Odessa?" (I always thought it was Kiev, but the i remembered it wrong. And remember, Sholom Aleichem's mother died of cholera.)

March 27, 2008

Tonight we're turning out the lights in Tel Aviv for an hour. Not the electrical equipment, because after all from 8-9 is tv news, and not Ichilov where we will be, but the house lights. A nice gesture. There are others - like the movement to use fewer plastic bags, to recycle plastic bottles, newspaper (of which we use enormous quantities). But i'd really be happy with more positive gestures - more planting of indigenous vegetation, recycling of dog shit, less packaging.

But I'm not only a non expert in these things - i can't even figure out what the signs are that everyone holds their heads about - like the melting of icebergs. I thought Archimedes had the rule about displacement of water that would mean that the level would remain the same....

Don't forget to turn your clocks forward tonight -

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