Tel Aviv Diary October 20, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - October 20, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 20, 2005

I don't want to write about anything but the weather. The politics are too messy.

Yet there is a new disk out about the disengagement, called "Orange Days." Remember how they used to say about the revolution in Spain - "they may have won the war but we had the good songs?" Well here it is the opposite, because the sense of purpose and wholeness is clear among those of the right.

And me, I can't get my head around the whole issue at all, so although I still write poetry, it isn't political.

Last night, when we were walking around Hayarkon Street, a tiny bit south of the tourist area, looking for a place to sit down and talk, we couldn't find a single decent cafe or even a nice bench. The wind was blowing, there was no one in the street, we were cold, but we had issues to discuss and had to finish them, so we kept walking and looking. As a result I have a head cold. But instead of staying in bed, I went out tonight to Nachalat Binyamin Street, where there was a showing of the documentary film on a failed project to take over the street and turn in into a private business, "Street for Sale." Many of the people in the film were also in the audience - all except for the entrepreneur who almost succeeded in gentrifying the neighborhood by throwing all the old people and old businesses out. Anyway the street was filled with people, chairs, corners, places to sit. The screen was on Hashomer Street which had been blocked off for this purpose - to be turned into a movie theater for one evening. Just seeing all those people was almost worth turning this head cold into bronchitis. Especially when I see how great the desire is to return Tel Aviv to its original beauty.

October 21, 2005

Speaking of neighborhoods, there was an article on my neighborhood in today's Ha'ir, which you can't get on the web. It even talks about my grocers. The interesting part for me is the description of the original residents and the feeling of neighborliness that has been slowly changing in the years I've been here. We saw this in LA too - the walls around the building keep growing - and the streets are empty except for joggers focused on their own bodies. Still, as far as I know the only crime is stealing cars.

And my car is 10 years old so i don't worry about it.

For all those of you asking about my luggage = it was returned within 48 hours in good condition. I was so busy with holiday arrangements I simply forgot my big internet kvetch,even though I had spent a good afternoon trying to replace the things that were needed immediately from the case. But now that the jet lag and the laundry are pretty much over, i can perhaps turn my attention back to more important things

October 22, 2005

I didn't mean Abbas and Sharon. I meant some of the festivals going on around here.

October 22, 2005

Dead Jews aren't News. Take a look at Tom Gross's article from the Spectator. You have to register to read it, and the Brits always make it hard to get into their sites, but I think it's worth it. You might want to send a comment.

This extended holiday, with its intermittent holydays, provides the opportunity to catch up with family, a friend or two, and to enjoy the last days of summer, threatened by the winter. We don't have autumn in Israel, but a war between winter and summer. And today's windy summer - is like the beginning of disengagement.

Next weekend, it's worth checking out the first Arab film festival in Nazareth. Sameh Zuoabi's film "be Silent" is being shown at 6:00 p.m.

October 23, 2005

Floating over Dizengoff Street, having eaten and drunk at Goocha, we were amazed at how beautiful and cheap the clothes were, and how decadent the whole experience of Dizengoff is. The feeling of decadence may have come from the release of a day of grant proposals, journal editing, reading papers, planning rehearsal....

October 24, 3005

And today your faithful reporter has been covering the holiday scene with a visit to that famed shrine to consumerism, Ramat Aviv Mall. Erev Hag and the underground parking is full. Erev Hag and couples, families, maybe even the entire population are buying whatever they can get their hands on - its the last day of the holiday when stores are open. This afternoon and tomorrow we're on our own with the families - i mean without shopping.

And then once the holiday is over real life begins. Everyone I know is waiting for something to happen after the holidays. Jobs, new semester, medical treatments... even politics.

In the evening, instead of circles around the synagogue, we did circles around the buffet table, celebrating the rejoicing of the Torah, "Simchat Torah," by making plans for the year ahead with friends over dinner.

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