Tel Aviv Diary May 29 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 29 - June 2, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 29, 2006

Yes, I'm cheating. There are still five minutes to midnight and I've started a new page. But with the festival:

( Israel Festival - May 29, 2006 - Love Soup -

with a review on Ynet ) I'm not sure I'll be able to write later on today.

I AM sure that as soon as this is over, I'll be back to writing a bit more sense than I've been capable to putting together this past month.

First - I've been holding back on my evaluation of the system of the israel festival. There is a great deal i want to say about our choices and delineations of culture. And the PR.

And I want to write about the festival in hertzlia, next week, and the student reading the week after, and festival nova next month. And all those activities listed on


From the Israel National News comes this: HEALTH ALERT IN NORTHERN TEL AVIV
( Health Ministry officials on Monday morning warn the bacteria level in the northern Tel Aviv water supply is unacceptably high, instructing residents of Ramat Aviv and northern Tel Aviv areas to boil water before use.

I'm hoping to start writing again about the arab-israeli cultural activities as well.

But the politics, the politics, I don't want to touch. It's so volatile - the iranian arming of lebanon, the nuclear threat - so near to be a daily nightmare (if we weren't all nightmared out)

May 30, 2006

As we were beginning the performance, there was a faint sound of fireworks, or gunfire, or something... but it couldn't have been a terrorist attack.. because the sound of ambulances came after our performance was over. Still we turned on the radio as soon as we got into the car to hear what had happened, and heard that 7-10 k of explosives were caught today with the bombers at a checkpoint, that the attack was in fact prevented.

How was the performance - wonderful. Despite my threatening to walk out if there was no light on me on the stage, despite the sciatica that i promise to attend to, despite our three o'clock arrival at jerusalem (where the hamsin is going strong) for a nine p.m. show. The few hundred people who came seemed thrilled. And if you want to see it, you might catch it on the news on channel one.

Or not. All that shelling up north (with the frightful possibility that shvuot vacationers this coming long weekend will cancel their b+b reservations), the political crisis, the medical crisis (some medicines yes, others no), all these things put our little attempt at pedagogical culture into a tiny corner of jerusalem.

May 30, 2006

Later that day. I am now back to my normal disorganized self. Ignore the previous entries if you want to get a more rational opinion of me.

On the other hand, I'm still not at a point where I can understand what's going on in this world. For example, Rena wrote me today that the Canadian Union of Public Employees' Ontario are boycotting Israel as of today. Now where is the knowledge that determined this political gesture coming from?

Think they might be boycotting Iran?

May 31, 2006

It's probably a system disappearing in Israel, but it still works in my neighborhood grocers. I mean credit. Almost every day I buy milk or cheese or leben and sign for it. At the end of the month I pay with a postdated check. It's not a cheap system, and I'd do better to buy at the discount supermarkets (and I do - for the big stuff) but discussing the twenty-odd kinds of avocados with one of the bored owners is a nice break from a day of research on the web, wouldn't you say? Brings you back to reality. The only problem is that they don't gossip about the neighbors the way they used to.

Another phenomenon that characterizes this city is the cats.

Here's an attempt of mine in Hebrew to show them:


, ,

I'm not going to translate it, but here's another from the rainy winter days, when they hide under the rafters:

These are just not good times for cats in Tel Aviv
The ground is wet, even under the sheltering roofs
Of stilted apartment buildings, and the damp
Makes it hard to go foraging in bins for food.

And now they look at me accusingly
As if I had control over the skies
And was enjoying denying them
The pleasures due them
From the city on the Mediterranean

Hoew are YOU getting ready for Shvuot? Apart from the traditional cheesecake and blintzes, I've decided to institute a new tradition: In praise of the horny heroine. The biblical woman hungry for impregnation. On Shvuot we read the book of Ruth, the story of ultimate lady who'll do anything to get her man. So Shvuot should be like a blatant Sadie Hawkins Day.

I doubt whether my new tradition will acquire any followers.

By popular demand I put the text of the Love Soup Performance on line Love Soup Performance. The hebrew is pretty uneven because we were trying to create lyrics for the music, but now I'm going to retranslate them for my next book - due out 2007. Criticism and Suggestions are welcome.

June 1, 2006

A friend of mine has been going back to religion in the past few years, and has been talking to me about 'correction' (Tikkun) all evening. Now this has become a custom in Israel for all spiritual people - religious and non - in the past few years: spending all night listening to lectures and participating in sing-alongs and talking about 'fixing' the world and the self. While this seems to me to be based on Kabbalah, my friend likes to think of this as traditional and integral to Judaism. "Set borders," my friend tells me, "we need to distinguish between holy and profane, sabbath and everyday,"

And I thoughthow much i hate borders, and would be totally against the fence, if so many people hadn't been killed by the open access. And now the 'borders' are more for declaring our own presence than making good neighbors.

June 2, 2006

After a day in the Emergency Ward (not for myself, and everything is okay)I was in the mood to stay at home today, but the sea and the chores I didn't do yesterday called me out.

Breakfast on the beach at Comme-il-faut shouldn't have been included in my list - but i was dying for wheat grass and it really was peaceful and beautiful there, and maybe i'll go back and buy that gorgeous blue shirt when i have a chance. (Comme-il-faut is a cafe on the beach that also houses two clothing shops and hairdresser, sex shop, massage spa and more.) But I had other things to do and we wound up at Shfaim - the kibbutz shopping center - to do them. Surprisingly, it wasn't incredibly crowded - just moderately so. Kids were probably home napping -

Someone asked me why I haven't been putting up pictures - especially of the israel festival. I screwed up my computer - but Ezi has fixed it.

So here's a shot of the performance:

Iris leaping into the video of her at the end of "The Closer you Get,"

and the dress rehearsal.

Iris, Yael and Karen become one.

There are more pictures - but i need encouragement.

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