Tel Aviv Diary September 1-5, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - September 1-5, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 1, 2020

but you have to register here: here,.

I thought it would be all booked up by now, but there are still a few places left -

people are learning to live with corona - even with the incredible rise in case numbers and the rise in deaths. we went to the beach last night where the water was like glass and warm as an embrace. we met with friends and sat close - with the excuse that we are in the open air and that is safe. of course it isn't, but we seem to be fed up. today too - i visited restaurants with friends and family. as if all was well. Of course it isn't well - but the kids went back to school today, and this evening i watched a grandchild in basketball practive - he in a league and it feel very pressured. They kept a distance, but sometimes they had to block and after a few minutes everyone forgot about distance in the heat of the game. We're never going to completely get over the need for contact, and we'll never get over corona until there's a vaccination.

September 2, 2020

School - after a fashion - has begun. It's pretty clear our brains are disappearing and sitting home alone on zoom or television isn't going to make our kids smarter. for the first time those kids who never had the opportunity to go to school and hang around with their parents and learn to do what they do - they've got an advantage. we women who disdained the menial tasks of cooking, sewing, and simple surviving, we're going to need those arts, and we're forgetting whatever 'profession' we learned. we're all dumbing down.

September 3, 2020

i regretted writing yesterday - i'm not sure i'm any dumber now than i was last year at this time. or if i am it's not only because of staying home.

so we reached 3000 cases today apparently - and we're the worst in the world. i would guess it is concentrated in very specific communities and that's why we're not totally shut down, but we're instituting the "traffic light" method, rating areas by number of new cases. there's an explanation in english here. i think Tel Aviv will be 'orange'. This will probably not affect Ezi and me personally - because we don't go out anyway - except once in a while to friends and to the beach. i don't even go into shops as a rule - except yesterday we had to go out to get a putty and pills and stuff like that and it was right near Akiko and well, we stopped for lunch. The bar was empty when we went in, but i'm sure we were less than 2 meters away from people by the time we raised our heads from our sushi and the place was full.

September 4, 2020

So in this worst heatwave in history (schumia del mut in morrocan) together with the scary corona numbers, all i can offer is advice for local television viewing. three shows: 1. zehu ze 2. the jews are coming 3. taagad. The first two are funny, the third is a teen-age mystery kind of series about the army. the first two can be found here, but no subtitles. they all depend on fluency in Israeli culture, but are worth the effort.

September 5, 2020

Yes, we are in a new era - and Trump and Netanyahu have made it possible. We're communicating with many, many cultures and countries that were not accessible to us - even last week. And if we can work hard together we may be able to work hard to help the Palestinian people enjoy normal lives. But it depends on a continual and conscious effort, with awareness that needs to be reevaluated frequently. We can't be singular or stubborn or destructive in this effort.

which reminds me - by default we watched "The Commitments" last night - that old 2001 film about an Irish band that is formed, succeeds and self-destructs in a short period of time. I always remembered it as a film about how musical Ireland is, and now see it is about how success is not enough - it demands overcoming individual characteristics in order to maintain a successful group. So I was thinking we were escaping politics but it turns out the 'escape' was something i really needed to remember about our country, Also about my friends and colleagues and myself - our paranoia about corona keeps us apart, but also keeps us from empathizing with each other sometimes. There are a few people I have been irritated with because they aren't in touch, and we don't meet them like we used to. But each time i make contact it turns out they themselves are in need of contact.

But staying home has many benefits. I discovered today that all my publications on Theodore Roethke - including my doctoral thesis - were never publicly available to researchers and therefore never included in further research. Even if I correct this now - Roethke is no longer the subject of research, not even of interest. It took ME all day to find some of the articles in my overstuffed cupboard.

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