Tel Aviv Diary October 1, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - October 1, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 1, 2005

A friend writes that he hasn't been in touch because he has been recovering from the bombing in Beer Sheva. Not that he was injured, but he was traumatized. This is not a weak, easy man, and I am sure that his strengths and his control over his life made this situation even harder.

Another friend spent a month in Bali, came back a month ago. The people, she said, are very positive and optimistic about life. How did they incorporate thet bombing of three years ago, I ask. It was hard, she said, but they are by nature a good and forgiving people. The news today made me wonder again about their nature. I wouldn't be surprised if they all are as nervous and neurotic as the Israelis by now.

It happens every where I go. Given the blind choice, I always find myself gravitating to the Middle East. Today in San Diego we turned into Bassam's Tea Salon on Fourth Street, and I immediately knew where I was. The stylish cafe, across the street from Starbucks and apparently offering the same fare, but in an old fashioned decor, seemed right to me. "This is Arab," I said, although there were no signs. Eventually I found some photographs on the wall, and among them those with careful cursive headings, "Amman." Not satisfied, I kept looking, and finally there was a little photo, "Acre," a mother and son in front of a sign that said in Hebrew, "Kindergarten." And an explanation underneath that it had been their house, but after 48 became a school. I knew no more details, and didn't feel comfortable asking.

You might want to ask them yourself. It IS a great place. Bassam's.

October 2, 2005

As they say, you can take the native out of his country, but you can't take the country out of the native. I am obsessed with comparisons. For example, with ecology.

I was overwhelmed with the signs asking people not to feed the birds as it interfered with the ecological balance. How fine! But that evening we took a ride on a steam boat that shot diesel into the air like fireworks!

It was not that this area is so hypocritical, but that our own hypocrisy back home is not unique. And these are reparable lapses.

Happy New Year.

Ocrober, 3 2005

For REAL impressions of Israel, check out these sites:

Carol Feldman's pictures

Lisa's "On the Face" and some of the other real sites. I'm in laguna beach imagining Rosh Hashana in Israel, so I'm not good for transmitting the flavor of Tel Aviv until I get back on the 15th. OF course all our conversations - with friends, with shopkeepers, etc, - are about Tel Aviv, but all i can show right now is the absence.

October 4, 2005

Me I've been sitting in the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, waiting for our room and watching two distinguished Arab gentlemen make enormous deals in 10 minutes. It is erev rosh hashana and if i were home I'd have family and friends for dinner, but here there is no way to feel the holiday unless you are connected. which i will be as soon as i get a room.

but the reason i got online is to tell you in the LA area that the reading on thursday at the University of Judaism I may have told you about is not going to happen. not sure why. but the holidays may have something to do with it.

HollywoodRoosevelt - it turns out - want like $10 a day for internet - so i may be off line.

October 5, 2005

I don't know if you want to hear this - i'm trying to relearn the jewish diaspora mentality while I'm here, and I don't seem to be doing well with this. we're having a great time here, but this diary is not about the big world, but only the israeli=related identity. So I won't write about Grauman's chinese, and as little as possible about this grand (but ungenerous) hotel, or about the wonderful friends we keep meeting who show us this great city.

October 6, 2005

too hard to get online. it makes the whole journal forced. so i only write when i can.

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