Tel Aviv Diary October 27-31, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - October 27-31, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 27, 2019

first day of the university and i couldn't find anything in the library. it keeps changing from print to electronic information - and from individual to group work. i like the changes, but there is much to learn. one of the problems with our library is that there was never enough space and never sufficient resources. now with electronic access research is so much easier, and it is possible to be so much more thorough.

In contrast, we visited our new doctor afterward. with all the electronic resources at his command, he didn't have to look at me, much less take my blood pressure or listen to my heart. together - both of us - were in and out in five minutes. And of course only after did i remember that i really need to ask him to get some tests done. oh well, i can send him a text...

October 28, 2019

"You've stopped telling about your poetry," my friend in California writes. "What's the scene?" I don't know how much i know. But I'm doing a series of interviews of yiddish poets at Beit Leyvik, organizing an evening of 100 thousand poets for change on November 9, on 19 King George Street, looking forward to publishing the dual-language holocaust book in Paris, etc etc. And the more I talk the less I do. That's also why I have no memory about my past.

My old colleague Zephyra Porat has passed away. Brain hemorrhage. Any of you who knew her in the past would recognize that her brain always worked overtime. the funeral is tomorrow in Jerusalem.

October 29, 2019

Kafka and his Hebrew are back in the news today. When I used to visit Ezi's mother, Sara, there were always fascinating people dropping by. One who didn't look too exciting to me was Pua Menschel, because she really had come to visit her baby cousin, Sara, and had no interest in conversing with me, and i didn't know where to begin. She was a very proper looking woman and had founded schools in Beer Sheva. What I didn't know was that she had taught Kafka Hebrew in his final years, He wanted to marry her and go back to Palestine with her, but she was 20 years younger, healthy, and not terribly interested. one does feel better being ignored knowing that Kafka did not have a much higher status for her than I did.

I couldn't face a funeral in the rain today. my body was aching enough without being exposed to the dampness of the open air. But last night, at the faculty party of the department from which i retired long ago, i felt the necessity of being present. i mean i understood that previous generations have a great deal to impart, and can make life easier sometimes for the younger ones. Even if they sometimes don't know what to do with us. And I was missing the fact that I didn't stay in touch with Zephyra after she retired.

There are so many ways in which the lack of a government in this country is felt. Let me start with the flu shots. this is the first year i have not been inoculated by october in ages. i always get sick when i have a shot, but then i never get the flu after. this year, guess what - the government hasn't purchased the inoculations yet. ho hum. the hospitals are always overcrowded in recent years, but this year there isn't going to be room even in the aisles. i was imagining summoning an elevator and having the door open with two patients in two beds with ivs leave me almost no room to get in.

the people of tel aviv are often old, and so many of the older people have no one to care for them, and little money for medicines, so they are the most neglected of the population here.

and these are the people with the most interesting stories to tell and no one to listen. i wish i had interviewed my in-laws more, and my parents at all. i'm writing the history of my parents - or what i know if it - for my kids - and i realize how little i know. but then again no one has interviewed me...and i know a lot too.

October 30, 2019

I wish I could erase yesterday. Not what I said about the hospitals but what I've said about the flu shots - apparently they're coming and the problem has been also about getting the right mix of flu shot. I was probably wrong.

of course i'm not wrong about blaming the government for thousands of other problems we're facing. That plane for the prime minister that costs over 150 million bucks could have bought all the beds for all the patients in the hospitals here.

October 31, 2019

In honor of Halloween I will now tell my favorite ghost story. This guy once told that when he was a boy he lived in Jerusalem on one side of Sanhendria - the famous cemetery. On Fridays he would have to walk through the cemetery in order to get to his piano lesson, and as the days grew shorter, he would find himself walking home at dusk. One day, as he hesitated at the entrance, an old man appeared and asked "Would you like to walk through with me?" The boy responded happily and they strolled through hand in hand. And as they parted at the exit, the old man said, "You were scared, weren't you?" "Yes," he answered, and the old man smiled "I used to feel that way when I was alive."

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