Tel Aviv Diary - November 12-16, 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 12-16, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 12, 2009

(hic) Technical difficultires (hic) made writing difficult yesterday. Prompted by an unexpected winetasting at Pappa's.

November 13, 2009

As we left the shopping mall this afternoon, a young man with beard and sidelocks stopped us and said to my friend, "Would you like to take some candles to light tonight?" as he extended a pair of candles and a sheet of prayers. "Not in Ramat Aviv," she said curtly and brushed past him. Now my friend is usually very polite and considerate of the feelings of others, so it took me a good minute to realize that she was indeed upset. This innocuous neighborhood of Ramat Aviv is becoming a little battleground between the old residents and the new extremely religious neighbors who have been moving in here in droves. "What would you have done?" she asked me sarcastically, having attending the recent rally and read the newspaper articles in Ha'ir this week and last. "I would have taken the candles," I said meekly. But I get the point. There is a definite sense of a planned messianic organization in the recent influx of religious institutions - a study center, an inexpensive kindergarten, and other official places, all within a few blocks of a normally religion-free area. Still, I feel like a teasing argument, so I add, "And do all the Arabs in the neighborhood bother you?" (since there seem to be equal amounts of men in black suits and hats and women in hijabs). "Actually, they do," she said, "But I know they are only visiting, or working here, or living in the dorms, but the Jewish extremists are out to change my life." I don't know whether I agree with her reasoning, but there it is.

November 14, 2009

A walk through the neighborhood made it clear that the articles about Ramat Aviv are true - there IS a plan to take over the neighborhood. It was a time of havdalah, three stars in the sky, and the only people in the street were families with one parent in charedi clothing and a few children. A man with two bottles of wine and three children, a woman with two children hanging on to a stroller of twins. A family here, a family there. "Is this the way I remember this street?" I said, thinking that I was expecting the usual joggers and fast walkers, and suddenly I had a flashback to when I first came to live here and was awakened by the donkey braying next door and the rooster who couldn't figure out daylight savings. Sheep would come by, a Bedouin boy with a stick leading them down the street. Except for the rooster, none of this bothered me.

November 16, 2009

What happened to yesterday? I cannot remember a thing. I think I was holding my breath until the rain. And then I passed out. And the rain didn't come. I know it's supposed to be the rainiest winter in a long time, but in the mean time there are a lot of growing things out there waiting. Apologies to Sara and Linda for keeping silent, but I seem to be suffering from a real relapse resulting in writers' block. We'll have to reconvene morning.

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