Tel Aviv Diary - October 23-27, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - October 23-27, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 23, 2013

After an emergency call from Shlomi Hasky last night, I translated his poem on the spot. He needs it for a festival to which everyone has been invited - but me. Always the bridesmaid...

But it's a great poem which I share with you:

Family Affair / Shlomi Hasky

The entrance door of a bereaved family never revolves.
You're thrown into the living room, looking down, trying to shake off
any connection, casting wide-open eyes on marble-blank walls
to an aperture through which no sky
emerges, trying to escape, but no use.
Family is something you can’t choose.

You know who lost in the election? the jewish cities. you know why? people didn't vote. the voting in tel aviv was 22%. the percentage of voting in the villages was in the 90's. Even if you discount the hamula imperative, it's clear we're not into democracy and they are.

I've been getting letters about my mother's kidnapping by gypsies. Could it be, they ask. May I remind you that this event happened around 1912-3. It was hard to survive at all in those days and there were roaming tribes in the forests of Novogrodek picking up children so they could be taught to steal. Lighter-skinned children were particularly prized because they looked less suspicious. But don't blame the Roma. Lots of people resorted to theft and worse.

October 24, 2013

I dreamt about the Roma all night - not about how they are but how we have to imagine them. In Jerusalem there are about 1500 Roma living near the Lion's Gate, and they are doing a good job in improving themselves and their lot. If you get a chance call their center and visit them. 054-206-6210.

October 24, 2013

This seems a dry time for museums here, not that I have time or energy to go, but since it's near by and since the exhibit is the subject is Ezi's favorite, we went to the Land of Israel museum to learn about the history of aviation in Palestine. Lots of photographs and movies and not much else, but what a great surprise - i kept listening in on conversations of old men. The exhibit covered aviation from 1913-48, and these guys remembered everything and were explaining it to whoever would listen. Not only what was but also what is. Ezi for example could look at a photograph of Lod airport in the thirties and tell you exactly where the everything is now in relation to where it was then. When we looked at an aerial view of Jaffa, Ezi pointed out the hangars his grandfather built in the 30's and then show me where the hill was where Oren and Yael got married two months ago. It didn't exist then. It was in the sea, but the land was filled a few years before

October 25, 2013

In case you missed last night's poetry welcome to the new semester at Tel Aviv University, here it is:

It's almost half an hour long, so you may want to skip around, but the idea - for me - was of the dialogue that develops between literature and the individual, the way a person incorporates what he reads in his/her every day life, transforms it, uses it.

October 26, 2013

We spent the afternoon arguing over the election results for the mayor of Tel Aviv. And the results of our argument are: People who live within the city see it differently than those in the suburbs. If you live in the middle of the city, you see the dirt, the poverty, the very selective renewal. if you come to the city for special occasions, or are wealthy, or don't have children in the inner city schools, you see the improving comfort and beautification. And you should see Jaffa! We're a very varied lot. But the good news is - every one in our family who could vote made sure they were there. So even though our mayor was elected by 10% of the population, we will make sure next time the proportions are bigger.

We're turning our clock back tonight. A bit early to my taste but better that usual - the daylight savings issue has been an important tool in proving to the country that the extreme-religious parties hold sway. I can't see any other connection to religion.

But apparently my mind works strangely. when I told my friend that it's going to be a hard night because we have to stay up to 12 to change the clocks she told me with a straight face that i could do it in advance before I go to bed.

October 27, 2013

Standing ovation to Mother Courage tonight. Not only because of the play - which always had too much of a direct anticapitalist message for me but is relevant to our society, but also because of Tiki Dayan and the rest of the wonderful actors in this superbly translated work by the late Anat Gov. Standing ovation! As Neri Livneh wrote: "Dayan doesn’t “play” Mother Courage; she lives the part. Instead of the sweeping gestures and resounding voice of her predecessors in the role, she acts on the stage as though she were in a film, creating the feeling that not only is Tiki Dayan Mother Courage, but actually all of us are." And this is our criticism of ourselves. We all make sacrifices for war and believe that's the only way.

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