Tel Aviv Diary November 3-7, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 3-7, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 3, 2008

I'm not very good at long range planning. That's why I have a five-day block in my diary, and that's why I'm never good at choosing presidents. I don't see specifics past my nose. But I do know that specific long-range planning always gets screwed up by unforeseen circumstances, so it is always a risk.

I was talking of course about Obama, and how they say 75% of American Jews are voting for him, but the American Jews who live in Israel are giving 75% to McCain. It made me think for a moment, and then go back to being happy I voted for Obama.

I've been talking to a lot of people about animal welfare and telling them i'm running, and some times they go blank and say "don't the environmentalists cover that issue?" Well one thing I learned in the Galapagos is that environmentalists and animal welfare people are sometimes at opposite poles, and sometimes they work together, and both are important.

You know what I think the most important thing is in these elections? That people realize they are responsible for their city, that their involvement is necessary for the government and for their own ethics.

November 4, 2008

It is with great excitement that I keep checking in all day to see the results of the campaign. Except for Kennedy and Clinton I've always picked losers. As a friend reminded me today, I was chanting "all the way with Adlai" when I was seven.

One of the big problems of writing 'to the moment' is that when I enter something in this journal, I may be wrong five minutes later. My percentage quote of voters in Israel for the US election, for example, was explained by a statistician on the radio yesterday as a misleading one because of the place and people who were polled about it. Ron Klein wrote me from Chicago as well, "you must be aware that the poll that claimed 75% of americans in israel were voting for McCain was bogus, without validity. It was reported in the Jerusalem Post that even the Pollsters admitted so. It was taken at orthodox union events , not a good place to get random samples." And some of my American-Israeli friends laughed at me at the university today, telling me I should try taking a poll there to see who wins.

Also Robert Whitehill sent me a site, entitled: U.S. funding Iranian nuke program! link here. It goes to show you a whole world can be destroyed because of one man's stupidity.

Panic Ensemble tonight. If I can get Ezi out of bed, I'm going.

November 5, 2008

Obama! If he can just inspire the people in the U.S.that the country belongs to them as well and they can actually work to improve it, he's already done a great deal for the world. But as he said, "This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change."

Panic Ensemble performed last night. For those of you who have not been following my musical career, I should tell you that Panic Ensemble grew out of my relationship with Roy Yarkoni in our first disk together, "Thin Lips" where I just read my poems to the music. I thought it was very sexy but when we went on to "Love Soup" and included Yael Kraus the quality increased. We did a show for the Israel Festival and Musicea Nova, but it didn't do much for the music, and then they began to perform without me. They were actually much much better. And now the music is even better and will be taking the show abroad. The clip they did for my poem "Jewish Women" was great fun, and connects a lot of dots beautifully.

Iv really enjoyed their performance last night. It is great to see live performances and they are always great performers. But smoking is now back in clubs in Tel Aviv, and that is not good. I come home and dump all my clothes in the washer.

what hopes I have for Obama! An intelligent person in the white house!

But while the rest of the world was celebrating Obama, I was celebrating Sasson Somekh's 75th birthday. A great thing to celebrate, although I usually hate long speeches, especially for three hours. Sami Michael wowed me with his talk about growing up in Baghdad, because he spoke about the jewish community there and how it was integrated into the muslim community, and how they all learned to live easily together. Many many Jews from Arab countries say the same things - talk with great longing about their relationships with their neighbors. Still, there are a few million people in Israel who were evicted from their Arab homes, and that says something too, no?

November 7, 2008

A retired politician came up to me today and laughed, "What a funny article about you today in the paper!" Not your standard candidate". I went back and looked at it, but I didn't think it was funny. It wasn't totally accurate, but it wasn't funny either.

It wasn't totally accurate because it took one detail of a long conversation we had about ethics and animals and I got into a long sentimental story about how my mother-in-law in her nineties regretted not being able to have a dog. I thought about it for days because her only limitation was that she couldn't walk, finally one day i came up with a solution of finding some kid in the neighborhood who wasn't allowed to have a dog but would take care of one in someone else's home. By the time I figured it out, however, and maybe found the right kid, she was already too sick to even think about it.

We got to see Dudamel conducting Mendelssohn today. It might have been one of the most moving concerts I've heard lately. His dialogue with each musician individually and the orchestra together was quite remarkable and the results are palpable. I wasn't surprised that he said that if he could choose an additional profession it would be politics. Let's hope Obama is that kind of politician.

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