Tel Aviv Diary September 29 - October 3, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - September 29 - October 3, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 29, 2008

Shana Tova.

September 30, 2008

I know I have to catch up - because, as you can imagine, the little I've written is not all that happened around here.

But I made the mistake of reading the international news around here, and the past is suddenly forgotten. What an economic mess! What a powder keg we're sitting on! If something doesn't happen in Sinai this week I'll start thinking about believing in social evolution (my in-version of 'I'll be a monkey's uncle'). If I had games on this computer I'd play solitaire until my brain fried. How on earth can this be the start of a good year?

Well on a personal level I have nothing to complain about. We're on the road to recovery, we've got a great family. great friends, good neighbors. I'm in a party with limited and achievable goals, I've got my professorship, and a few irons in the fire. We donated a few monitors to Hemotology so that the situation of the ward can be more secure. All I can do is try to help make this year a better one for others.

Ynet has a piece about the animal welfare party by Dan Benzur. Why not comment?

October 1, 2008

Individuals can make a difference. Take a look at "The Great Shlep" project, in which people are being urged to shlep themeselves to Florida to convince their grandparents why they should vote for Obama. It takes a lot of individuals, but it could be done. And it can be done with humor too.

Do I want Obama that much? It isn't so much a question of Obama as the informed voter. I heard some U.S. investors and a banker talking today, and one of them understood who was responsible for the present economic crisis. The other two asked questions. Now how can I vote responsibly when I couldn't comprehend what any of the three were saying? So I would like to be around for those discussions between grandchildren and grandparents in the 'grand shlep.'

I don't even try to get Ezi to shul on Rosh Hashana any more. But on our bike ride to the beach today, we passed a few groups of people going somewhere. "That group up front," a woman asked another woman as we went whizzing by, "Are they our people or their people?"

But the beach was lovely - crowds of families, couples, individuals enjoying themselves. The lifeguard warns people in Hebrew, but if that doesn't work, he switches to Russian. The walkways and bike routes are surrounded by grass and flowers, the sun is not too hot, the air is wonderful.

But of course I almost passed out when we came home.

On our friends balcony this afternoon, Esther looked up suddenly and said, "Look at the birds!" And there were hundreds of them, in three or four formations, flying south along the coastline. It was an amazing sight just before sunset, something that can only happen in the early autumn, and a wonderful promise for the new year.

October 2, 2008

This is the season for human hibernation as well. I mean the holidays. There is so much travelling going on that I can't keep track of my friends. Some go for rosh hashana, some for yom kippur, some for all the holidays. Yet the streets remain crowded and the restaurants have filled up. And my day began late because for the first time my acupuncturist was crowded. I had to wait for half an hour. This would not have been so bad, but it gave me the sense of having missed something, so i found myself an hour later in a shop in Ramat Hasharon buying a mock leather mock fur lined vest (in the middle of the summer, just before a heat wave.)

October 3, 2008

That poetry festival, Sha'ar - the one I told you about last week, is described with simple accuracy by Ayelet Dekel in Ha'aretz today. It really was a great event, and I wish I didn't have to miss the last part. But poets have to live too.

I almost walked out of the Museum Eretz-Yisrael shop this morning because I couldn't get a salesperson to pay attention to me, but if I have to buy an important present, I like to buy it there. First of all, I like to buy local products whenever I have a choice, and there is some really cool jewelry there. So I waited, and came home with some of the nicest bracelets I've ever seen.

Yes, I'm still spending money, despite the scary financial position we're in, despite the rumors that its the fault of the Jews. The worse the situation gets, the more I need to put into the economy, right?

Of course that's not my personality. It's just a feeling of the moment. Sometimes I talk rot. I made the mistake of googling myself today - discovered that I am quoted as making all kinds of absurd statements, am aligned with the left, bla bla bla, bla bla bla. There are very few things that I will stick by. One is Zionism, an other is the concept of ethics as basic to human existence. A third is the need for repeated reality checks.

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