Tel Aviv Diary May 27-31, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary May 27-31, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 27, 2008

Where did I disappear to last night? Dreamland. With all the options, all the possible visitors, all the hunger to write, I decided that I would help Ezi sleep by going to bed early with him and fell asleep before him.

So now we're watching the only show in town - the Talansky hearing. I don't like it. I think I'll do something useful, like going to the Ozen Hashlishit to see what's up with Panic Ensemble. I keep missing the meetings, the performances, the television programs. It's time I did something.

As for politics, I can only comment by recalling the story of the woman who brought a chicken to the Rabbi and asked, "My chicken fell into the chamber pot. Is it kosher?" to which the Rabbi replied, "It's kosher, but it stinks!"

I have been wanting to talk about fashion for a long time - thinking about where which women buy what. For example, the women in chemotherapy buy their wigs in Bnei Brak, the neighborhood of religious jews who believe in head covering for married women. But otherwise i think non-religious jewish women buy clothes only in non-religious fashion houses. And religious and non-religious Arab women follow the same patterns. The thing is, I am quite taken with religious Arab clothing...

Panic Ensemble is appearing all over. Here's a link to one performance of Jewish Women

May 28, 2008

Early this morning we hit the hospital for a PET scan. Which reminds me of the story of the woman who brings a rabbit to the vet. "This rabbit is dead," the vet says. "Are you sure? Can't you do some tests?" The vet reluctantly agrees, and leaves the room. A big tabby comes in, jumps up on the examining table, sniffs the rabbit all over, jumps down and leaves the room. The door closes behind it but soon opens again and a laborador comes in, walks around the table, smelling the rabbit, and walks out. The vet returns. "The tests are in - the rabbit is dead. That will be 900 shekel please." "So much money just to tell me the rabbit is dead! It can't be!" "Well, if you'd taken my word for it it would have been 300, but with the lab work and the cat scan...."

Anyway, this rabbit is not dead.

Book week began today - a very big deal, but i didn't have the head for it.

May 29, 2008

Looks like Ezi passed his midterms and is on the way to recovery. It makes me see everything differently.

Anyway I am constantly aware that my perspective is continually open to change. This evening when we went to Carmella we passed a synagogue and Rochelle, who is visiting here from the States, commented on the fact that it is run-down. "Modest," I responded lightly, and then I realized how complex the answer should have been had I not been so flip.

May 29 continued.

(But I fell asleep in the middle of writing and was reminded when i woke up of my mother's question, "Would you like to have yesterday's dinner - nechtike's viechere -? Come back tomorrow.) So I am completing the thought a bit late. Although Ezi's grandfather built the impressive great synagogue on Allenby Street, I have always gone with the tradition that a jewish house of prayer is supposed to be composed of a room, people, and torah; that the place is not important. It should be, on the contrary, de-emphasized, because the unless there is the holy temple in jerusalem, no edifice is sanctified. In fact it is the people who are holy and the scrolls which are holy and that's it.

May 30, 2008

I was on channel 23 last night - didn't know it was going to be scheduled until six that evening. When they were recording it, i was way overstrung and made a serious booboo, misnaming the group with which we appeared long ago. We caught it and filmed that little piece again, but guess what - they edited out the wrong piece. So there I am - way over made up - with big cracks in my pancake - speaking nonsense. Fortunately we were still busy with health issues and didn't have to concentrate on my blunders because we had more important htings to do. So a proportion was maintained!

Oh Dear, my Holocaust Hoarding mentality is catching up with me. As the food prices go up, it is less practical to risk spoilage by stocking up, but I can't seem to let go of the fear of an empty cupboard. I have medications for the next year, i think. And all the vegetables for a week. This is totally not necessary as I have a grocer within 20 feet of my door, yet i am unable to shake the feeling of security i get when i know i can hole up in my flat in case of a bomb.

Because Rochelle Owens and George Economou will be reading in my class on Monday I looked up her poem "Chomsky Grilling Linguica" a very powerful work. My only problem is with the links to the poem - they seem to elude me.

May 31, 2008

Shabbat. Blessed Shabbat. All that's missing for me is a good Arabic movie I can cry along with. Something about a girl in Cairo in love with a man whose family is unacceptable....In lieu of that we'll go to Pappa's.

Whenever I would lose something and I would ask my mother where it disappeared to, she would say, "a platoon of soldiers came and took it away." I must have written this before, because its so much a part of my daily life. When something is missing, I first think of who could have taken it, and then laugh at myself for my paranoic easy solution. But of course the origins of this expression are in my mother's childhood: living on the lithuanian corridor before and during world war I, she often experienced strange armies looting the yard or the house. Anyway, in the time it took me to write this, I found my car keys.

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