Tel Aviv Diary November 6-10, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 6-10, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 6, 2017

spent the afternoon at the conference with Indian writers at the Hebrew writers association. My flu hasn't disappeared and I ran home before it was over to get ready for tomorrow's trip of another leg of "Shvil Yisrael." Yet I found myself unable to pack up.It's a long day trip and I'm going to forget something important -like my hat or sunglasses. So instead of telling you about the amazing writers we met today i will just say good night and hope to upload photos or something tomorrow.

November 8, 2017

What was I thinking? We caught the tour bus at 7 in the morning and got home close to 8 p.m. and there was so much to digest i couldn't even think of writing.

First. we had amazingly slow driver and it took us forever to get to the memorial to Trumpeldor and the others buried under the roaring lion statue. And get home. The story of Joseph Trumpeldor - the one-armed Russian officer who was killed in action in 1920 - is well=known, if unclear. But every fact I learn about him makes him more interesting, exciting and admirable, and I was happy to learn he tried to intervene in the misunderstanding between the Arabs and Jews, to make peace.

But that's known. What was unknown to me was the fact that in the cemetery of Kfar Giladi Manya and Yisrael Shochat are buried along with the others of HaShomer movement. Because Manya was a founder of the Kibbutz movement and a believer in peace between Jews and ArabsI have long been an admirer of her. Of course not everything she did deserves admiration, and I wonder how she and her husband wound up in beautiful graves next to each other. There seemed to be no arguments, no disputes, no disagreements in this site.

And then we went to the Banias. I must have written about the Banias, where the temple of the god Pan was erected and the rituals observed, many times before. But I never learned about goat dances and goat rituals and goat cemeteries. And I never even knew about the city of Banias, with the palace of Agrippas II, the building from Greek, Roman, Muslim periods. It was enchanting. Once I figure out how to make my pictures smaller, i'll put them up.

From what I understand the Jews have no stake in the Banias. When Israel conquered the area in 1967 it was all about the water-diversion plan where the Syrians had agreed to divert the water from Israel into the Yarmouk river. With the continuing drought up north the Banias looks like pretty small potatoes right now.

November 9, 2017

I may be congratulated. I finished the draft of my Yiddish book. It's only 36 pages of Yiddish and now I'm going to polish the Hebrew translation which will probably be harder since in most of the poems the subject is Yiddish, and why this particular poem has to be in Yiddish.

It may seem that the exponential accusations of sexual harrassments is fake, so i want to take this opportunity to say #me too. And you can multiply that hashtag note many many times. I think it is one of the reasons I didn't try too hard to make friends with employers, editors, etc. And one of the times i think it is the reason i didn't get tenure. As a guy who not too long ago tried to pick me up said to me today, "if they don't want it, why not just go on to the next girl who might say yes?" that's often the point - half the fun is that they don't want it, but they have to accept it because the guy is in power and usually your job or your safety or your reputation depends on it.

November 10, 2017

Jacob Lak wanted to check his translation of Hyam Plutzik's "Horatio" today and as we discussed the work I realized what a wonderful poet Plutzik was. How often this happens - we don't know the value of what is before us. And sometimes those before us doesn't know our value.

We watch CNN and FOX and BBC and see how terrible we look to the world. There are a few things I agree with and so much that is absent, so much clearly manipulated PR against us, that I'm not surprised we've gone paranoid about the world's attitude towards us.

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