Tel Aviv Diary October 14-18, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - October 14-18, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 14, 2008

See, it's a great holiday - we learn to live in temporary housing and not to depend on our fortunes or our places. Perfect training.

October 15, 2008

It never fails. You build a sukkah and it rains. It rains in the middle of the night and shusha wakes us up afraid of the thunder.

Last night we were at a party in the garden and it was so sticky and uncomfortable I prayed for rain. A prayer that was almost certain to be answered. (I find those the best kinds of prayers)

Anyway by the time anyone else woke up, the rain was over, and there is just a fresh smell in the air, and pleasant weather.

October 16, 2008

Much going on in this city. Get out your calendars. Sunday at 5 in Maier Park: Nira Rabinovich is giving a lesson in chi kong for the Animal Welfare party. Her acting and singing career is what she's best known for but Nira Rabinovich has been a chi kong instructor for many years and i've always wanted to take a with her -she's such a cool lady.

We were at Pappa's last night, gobbling down pizzas and swilling beer, and talking with relatives about their remodelling when suddenly I realized that we hadn't mentioned the stock market all evening. There are people in the world who work with cash, and have jobs that will not be effected by recessions, and whose lives will continue the same whether real estate goes up or down. These are people who have always lived economically, and have lived through worse times then the ones we are anticipating.

I suppose previous wars and hardships should innure us to the ones predicted in the news, but I don't feel that. Money or the lack of it doesn't really bother me, but war is a different story.

October 17, 2008

At first when I started reading Ariel Hirshfeld's piece in Ha'aretz about what suffering goes into the making of gefilte fish, I loved it. "Gefilte fish has to be prepared together with high blood pressure and a chronic vascular disease." Then I began somehow to get insulted. Jewish Mothers are always somehow seen from a humorous point of view, or ironic, even when there is a tiny bit of understanding and sympathy. I don't think Jewish mothers are different from any exiled mothers - they have the weight of generations to come on their shoulders, and they know it.

The other piece he wrote in the same column was about Yudit's cafe in Gan Ha'ir. I was there last week - i think we lowered the average age by 10 years. And there seems to be no warmth there, although the cakes are great. But once again, when you're a stranger, you don't know what's going on behind the image. It's like the stereotype of the Jewish Mother - the stereotype of the class-ridden Austro-Hungarian empire. I figure these old people grew up in their own culture and they have no reason to change, or to be interested in me. There are a thousand different cultures around here and they have no reason to try to understand another culture.

Unless, of course, they are our responsibility, like the Arab culture. Take a look at Sayyed Kashua today.

October 18, 2008

Although I thought to spend my Shabbat in bed, I got lured out. Between two restaurants with friends, I let myself be brought to water, and spent the afternoon at the University pool. In bad shape, I'm still in okay form, and despite a little chlorine swallowed, and a wet bathing suit that got unbearably clammy as the heat of the day diminished, it was good. There is a kind of unreal peace at the university pool - I still can't quite figure it out - but there were very few children, and many young people. It is always crowded at that pool.

In the morning we went out to Herzlia, to watch the amazing turquoising sea and eat breakfast at Roccas. The guy in charge of the place, Nir, listened to all our kvetches - real and imagined - with remarkably good spirit, and he made the otherwise banal meal worth while. I'll be back there - especially if I want to convince someone of something. It's a place that takes you out of reality.

At night we were taken out to Carmella's, in the Carmel Market. We've been through that before - it's a great place, and I like the food a lot. The thing that struck me this time was the shocking antithesis between Nachalat Binyamin Street, where the restaurant is, and Carmel Street where the market is. No lighting, garbage in the street, etc. etc. In the daytime it seems picturesque, but at night - what a dump!

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