Tel Aviv Diary March 25, 2020, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 25, 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 25-29, 2020

this business of isolation is getting better by the minute. i don't even answer the phone half the time. we're sometimes glued to the television watching the instructions for corona control or the childish chaos of people in the government playing power games in the middle of a national emergency. Sometimes we walk and exercise, sometimes i edit or clean up writings, but i try as hard as possible to avoid the depression and fear that seems to overwhelm so many of us. So I'm celebrating my birthday on Sunday with a zoom party that Michael Kagan initiated. i hope he doesn't regret the enormous effort it entails. he is a very busy writer and businessman and scholar and i am amazed he has time for my foolishness. It's as if he knew i have never had a birthday party i didn't organize myself and i would like it to happen once in my life.

Here's the link: Here. you have to register, and it would be great if you registered now.

At times like this, when we’re all fearful of others and often alone, it would be the greatest birthday for me to join with you in a poetry community. Join me – it will be fun. .

March 26, 2020

you just turn around once and the world changes around here, Benny Gantz just joined the government and his party fell apart. i just hope he won't be crushed under Bibi's wheels. Like they say, when one door closes and the other door opens, you may be in prison. I'm not at all sure Benny has the savvy to spar with Bibi. No wonder his party disappeared behind him.

My corona test came back! I'm okay! Not that I was worried - i just have the same old cold as before we went into quarantine. but we've been getting FEAR stuffed into us for the past weeks - the kind of FEAR which made many people believe that only Bibi can take us through this.

do i believe it? i don't think belief has anything to do with the creation of atmosphere. if we are told that 8 people have died so far, it actually tells us nothing, because how close they were to dying anyway. if we're not told how many people have become infected, or how many people have recovered, or how many people are being tested, the statistics of death mean nothing.

March 27, 2020

do you know why we're not communicating all the time? because we have nothing good to say to one another. and we know it's not going to get better in the near future. in fact, we've been having electrical outages in the past days and it reminds us that things could be worse.

One of the signs of anticipation of tough times is the beginnings of 'victory garden' Green Prophet has the old WWII handbook here of how to do it.

My parents had a victory garden - i'm not sure if it was all kosher but i seem to remember her telling me about chickens as well.

March 28, 2020

I started off this morning brooding - that's what happens when you're in quarantine and you reach out to as many people tas possible to comfort them and they do their best to make you feel bad. and then you remember some other times they've been nasty in the past. here's one example - a very sardonic friend i've known for 40 years has been ignoring me. i could believe she needs reassurance (and then I would call her to calm her), but she responds to everyone else in a whatsapp group . normally i would be fine with that but in these times of home restrictions, i think people should try to be kind. don't worry - you won't see her at my birthday party - it's only for nice people.

if you live in Israel, sign up at so they can map out where the centers of the disease are. it turns out that fewer old people here get sick (although those who do don't make it through any better than in the rest of the world) . i think it is because they are more able to abide by the quarantine than others -1. they are used to extreme situations, 2. they have better 'at home' services, such as supermarket and grocery deliveries, and3 they are more in touch with family members who often don't live too far away.

what do i mean 'they'? ME!

another statistic has got me thinking. the fact that there are so many infected people in religious neighborhoods - perhaps because they ignored instructions from the health department - raises the question of conflict between the laws of religion and government. we've seen the conflict all along with laws like military duty. now what will happen with this in the future?

and what about who we count? do we count the israeli who died today in Italy? do we count the people with corona in the West Bank? do we only count the Jews? oy statistics, statistics - not wonder i had such trouble in statistic class at the university... almost failed until i learned to play by their limited rules. then i aced ithe course

March 29, 2020

What a wonderful night in these terrible times - bringing together people through poetry! Although nothing was perfect, and too much was centered around me and my birthday, i love the idea of people coming together in their solitary confinement.

the video is here

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