Tel Aviv Diary September 14-18, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - September 14-18, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 14, 2017

Shimon Peres' Yahrzeit. One year. What have we learned? At the ceremony there were no local political 'celebrities,' although Henry Kissinger came and Tony Blair spoke movingly.Here is a little bit of what happened

the wonderful influence of Peres has dwindled in this government - temporarily I hope. Without the spirit of people like Ben Gurion and Peres we are all lost. I keep remembering what a rebbe once told me = "it doesn't matter whether God exists or not - you have to behave as if He did.

Wait a minute - seven year old Omer explained to us yesterday that God is in everything - in the plants in the sky in the trees in our hearts. I'm sure it was something the teacher - being forced to expand the religious studies in school this year - told him, but I really really wanted to kiss him - he spoke with such enthusiasm and joy. The others at the table saw only the negative side of this, that this was religious indoctrination, and I was beginning to really feel that my cold was developing into something terrible, so I made do with a smile and a quiet prayer that people like him will take over our lives in the future.

Does it matter to whom I prayed?Maybe it was to you.

Ronen Shapira is appearing in Carnegie Hall on the 17th with his version of a poem of mine he made into a symphony. He wrote me just now that my name is in the program, along with that of Rony Sommek, but the poems are not there for now because there is no singer yet. I never really saw the wonder of that poem "Your White Skin," but with his help I understand its depths.

September 15, 2017

My first real meal this week - at Akiko - made me all right again. I've been unable to eat anything but toast and chicken soup and now I'm fine, thank you. That meal was the end to a perfectly horrible week. Suddenly my mood has changed, and i even see better. Oh, that's because I picked up my new glasses.

There was a pretty remarkable review of a poem of mine today, worth your struggling through in Hebrew. here. The idea of the poem is the concept of love as labor, good and rewarding labor but labor. And the review contextualized the poem in the book, which has poems of all kinds of love that doesn't work.

and now we're off to see the prize-winning film that our minister of culture, Miri Regev, reviled - Fox Trot. it's playing only at very select theaters, and only at strange hours, but when i saw it came on, i couldn't resist.

September 16, 2017

For the first time in my life I agree with Miri Regev. When we left the movie, Yaara appeared startled, as she had PST and Ezi was angry. He was pissed because the film is slow, but we've been to slow films before and they were riveting. I was pissed because some of the scenes about the army are perhaps metaphorically true, but will be taken literally, like the burial of a car loaded with revelers who are mistakenly shot by a bulldozer so that no traces will be left.

In general it's a metaphorical film that will be taken literally. The only thing i can verify is that in the deserts camels wander around at their leisure and occasionally cause terrible accients on the road. Moreover the basic metaphor of the film, the foxtrot, is not the dance they mean. If anything they are talking about the box step - where you move your feet but you remain in a box. The idea is that our country doesn't get anywhere with the attitude it takes. I really don't think this film should have won any prizes at all except for 'best actor' in the first third because Lior Ashkenazi is amazing as the father. That's it.

The Guardian, on the other hand, loved it

Since Foxtrot is the spelling out of the letter F which usually comes out as fucked, i would have throught the film title was referring to that. Especially since the three of us felt we'd been screwed.

With this in mind I reached the check-out counter at Tiv Tam without my 'members' card'. So what's you ID number, the check out lady in a hijab asks me. I tell her, but watch her fingers as she types in the numbers and think maybe she's made a mistake. She hasn't. In fact she's really thorough. She looks at the chicken Ezi picked out and says "I think this is frozen." There is a difference in price between frozen and fresh, as well as taste. "No," I say, "I told my husband which chicken he should buy. "It's frozen," she insists, and marks the lower price. I exclaim, "You just can't trust these men!" and she laughs. After, when we've loaded up the car, Ezi remembers he has the ticket to validate, and sends me back up to fix it. I go back to her and see, "I told you not to trust men! He forgot to give you the ticket." She breaks up. I have done my work for today.

Of course this doesn't change the situation. No matter how much banter can exist among us - and a great deal does in fact exist - it doesn't change this complex situation.

September 17, 2017

someday soon i'm going to have to read this diary. i can't even remember what i did today except give some books to a used book store - the Book Shuk - I couldn't remember why I stopped frequenting them. But as soon as I started talking to the guy there I remembered. They're just not nice people.

And when I got my hair cut I remembered why I'd stopped going to this hairdresser years ago and justed started going back to him last year. Because I hate all hairdressers no matter what they do. i just don't look as good as I deserve to.

September 18, 2017

we got a sneak peak at the future light rail which will bring Tel Aviv to suburbia starting in 2021. There was a model train set up on Rothschild Boulevard that you can go in and feel what it would be like to take the train to Jaffa, play some interactive train games, and get gifts for the kids. pretty cool.

It will make a big difference for the city - even though we may never get there.


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