Tel Aviv Diary March 1, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 5-9, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 5, 2006

So internet in Rome is not as easy as I thought it wouldbe. I tried writing offline for a while, but the impetus - to explain something of Tel Aviv to the world - was gone. And I sound like a little jewish tourist. One example: "A few points about Rome: If you eat it while it’s still hot, the cake called I think ‘pizza hebraico roma’ from the Jewish bakery in the ghetto, is incredible. Cold I imagine it’s like fruitcake, but hot the wine and candied fruits and nuts and butter maintains individuality and confluence at the same time.

It was Giora’s father Attilio Milano who wrote the first history of the ghetto, but I didn’t have enough time this trip to really chart it and discover its other beauties.

The only other point suitable for a diary of this nature is Arch of Titus. You probably know about it already, and I studied about it in intro to art long ago, but the shock of seeing the Romans carry off the holy arc and the other trappings from the dismantled temple of Solomon was never felt until I saw it live."

Any way I was as pleased to be back in tel aviv as my chirping dog was to be home. but i'm behind. catch up later.

Back to the ghetto for a moment. We walked past the Taverna del Ghetto to a pizza place down the street - that turned out to be okay - but not great. On the way back I looked longingly at the Taverno, which was featuring jewish goulash soup, but it was too late. Now Robert Whitehill writes:
You and Ezzi must try the kosher restaurant Taverna del Ghetto--Leah and I ate there last summer, and it was the best restaurant that I'd ever eaten in --kosher or non-kosher--the service, the wines, the food--but I understand that they change owners a lot, so maybe we had them under good ownership-and you'll get them when they are under bad ownership--who knows?
and there is also a neat pizza place down the street from it

March 6, 2006

Now that I'm back I'm slowly listening to my phone messages and discovering some of the things that happened while i was gone. For example, apparently I have become somehow part of the organization of the Maghar poetry festival this year. It's in April, during the spring vacation. More than that I do not know.

As elections get closer and closer, and the boredom and dissatisfaction grow, I want to make my first and only plea on these pages. Vote for goodness sake! I have been hearing from all kinds of people that they don't plan to vote. Actually, the only people I know who are determined to vote are relatively wealthy. I don't understand it. The poor, the disenfranchised - why have they chosen this moment to give up? This is the moment things CAN be changed. In the last election many of my Arab friends said they didn't feel like voting because they felt they had been playing a losing game for too long. But this is the time to increase representation, to actually work to even things out. Come on!

Now I must also add that I am often the butt of my children's jokes because of my (naive) belief in the power of the vote - but think of it, this is a country with the voting population of Manhattan... votes count.

March 7, 2006

What great luck I had to have a dentist's appointment today! He's right by the beach so I found myself on the seaside in the middle of a gorgeous heat wave. By this afternoon it is over, and the dust that remains in the air seems even more opressive, especially with the knowledge that it's going to be really cold tomorrow.

I really shouldn't admit this, but I am following the extradition to Miami of Ze'ev Rosenstein as if he really were my uncle. I know he's being tried for drug trafficking, and who am i to sympathize with him, but the amount of news coverage he's getting around here shows I am not alone. What makes us sympathize with him? What makes us so interested in whether he will get enough food and light in prison? And yet we discuss this over and over as if he were a wayward relative - wayward, but still a relative.

March 7, 2006

Gotta plug a book: A Place in History:Modernism, Tel Aviv, and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space, by Barbara Mann, is a study of this city. I've read parts of this book already and love it.

While Oren calls to tell me he's skiing in the middle of a snow storm in France, I look out the window and it looks the same - but of dust and dirt, not snow. The air is so filthy it seems impossible to breathe, and the weather has cooled considerably. By tomorrow it will be cold. No, wait. I just went out at 9 p.m. and it is already windy and cold - and the air is fine.

As it is with the weather around here, so with politics and war.

March 9, 2006

As if to drive home this thought, i not only got caught in the rain, but also got hit in the head with an intense hail that only fell for the moment I was running for my car.

The rain stopped and the air feels clear. But I made the mistake of leaving the tv on when the election ads were on - misinformation meant to cloud and not clear anything up. The worst part of it was the fact that the admakers and the political parties could actually believe that the best way to win our love is to inspire our hate - for others. The others vary - sometimes Arabs, sometimes leftists, sometimes Bibi, sometimes religious - but the concept of hating the others seems universal among the parties, except, maybe, labor.

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