Tel Aviv Diary - November 3, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 3, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 3, 2013

We hit the ground running. it was still dark when we arrived at the Bnai Israel Cemetery. But the gate swung upon and the gatehouse was deserted so we walked right in to where the Ginsberg family plot was. we knew it from last time when it was light. And although i was sure i knew exactly what i was going to say I found myself tongue tied, couldnt even remember the words of kaddish i knew by heart. so we contented ourselves with filming the sun coming up over the Annhauser Busch factory and went to my niece Dalia to recover our spirits.

now we go from niece to niece and try to rest in between. it isn't happening.

The resting i mean.

there's too much to do. we went back to see the cemetery and each time i understand Louis and Allen Ginsberg better. More controlled explanations soon to come.

Tomorrow we stop in Camden for the Whitman mausoleum and then falls church.

Tuesday we explore the air and space center in Chantilly - it is always interesting the stories Ezi has to tell behind the stories on the placards.

November 5, 2013

My mind's not right. Although I try to listen carefully to see how engines work, how rockets are powered, how wonderful space is, I can't figure out WHY? I go through the exhibit of German World War II technology and don't really understand how they could have lost. Robert says the sheer numbers but I suspect the technical decisions made by Hitler about what to promote and what to postpone are even more responsible. Like his postponement of one of the messerschmidts because he wanted it to be made into a schnellbomber. In other words, I kept thinking about the small margin by which we won the war, and the holocaust did not stretch just a bit to include my family.

Today is election day in Virginia, where we're staying, and I am wondering about the extreme division between the governal candidates.

November 6, 2013

If you sit in the library on the fifth floor of the holocaust museum in Washington it is very quiet. All you can hear are occasional sighs. I myself was pretty silent as i opened the "Lexicon of Heroism," "Leksiḳon ha-gevurah" by Yeḥiʾel Granaṭshṭain and Mosheh Kahanovitsh, and found the story of my aunt. The story of her capture is a different version from the other two I had garnered - one from the same historian, Moshe Kahanovich, but the end is always the same - she is burnt alive trapped in a jail.

"Anything else I can help you with?" the solicitous librarian asks. "A handkerchief," I answer with my usual irony. But later at home, when i go back to the original source that's cited in the Lexicon, and download the pages in Yiddish, I find I can't read because my eyes are strangely watering.

Why I would spend a gorgeous afternoon in Washington at the holocaust museum i don't know. The sunset was absolutely pink and full of promise. Maybe because of the election results.

November 7, 2013

Regards from sunny Boston. Isn't that an oxymoron? And as we reached Dulles airport I knew it was going to be a tough day. Lines over a half an hour long to check in, another half hour for security, and guess what - my suitcase stayed in Washington even though we managed to make the flight. Another hour or so to pick up the car, and we were on our way. In my winter coat I shivered until we got ourselves fed and bedded, and now i finally remembered what I was supposed to do in Washington. Something about the library of congress. whoops.

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