Tel Aviv Diary - September 6-10, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 6, 2010

I admit it. These holidays have made me crochety.

I don't WANT to turn back the clock back so soon, I don't WANT to see the kids back on the streets after they've only been in school for a week, I don't WANT to overeat after an entire summer of not being able to move in the heat. Isn't there a way to make fast-walking a part of the celebration?

This is the way I want to spend my holidays:

(Ezi caught him in Jaffa on Saturday)

But of course as soon as I start cooking I'll be all excited. The part I hate is the shopping. At least now that I'm doing the shopping.

Actually, the old days were exciting. The aisles crowded with housewives, arguing over the carp, disputing the high price of vegetables. Today there were only a few stragglers, no rush, no struggle. The vegetables may be 30 percent higher but no one is complaining, and no one is fighting over them. I don't know what to make of it, but it doesn't look good.

September 7, 2010

This probably doesn't belong here or deserves a blog of its own, but I'll add it anyway. It's just one Ezi example of many, many. We're walking with the dog without a leash, and Ezi crosses the street, while I lag behind with limping Shusha. A car has broken down in the middle of the street, just as it was turning the corner downhill, and the other cars have to go around her so I'm keeping a close eye on the old dog. The woman in the car is desperate - every time she tries the engine it roars, coughs, and goes silent. "Ezi!" I shout as we finally make our way across the street, "Do something!" He has been motionless and silent but just as I am beginning to shout, he sashays over to the car. "Is your air-conditioner on?" he asks politely. When she checks it out and nods, he says. "Turn it off. Now try the engine." She turns the key and the motor springs to life. She disappears and we walk on without a word.

A few words about Rosh Hashana. Maybe I'm too simple, but I like to see the new year as a new beginning. A new chance. Like we can see all the things that have happened in the past in a new way - like maybe Gilad Shalit will be included in the peace deal and that's why Netanyahu tried to get Shalit's parents to go home for the holidays and leave him alone... lik all the posing of the participants in the peace talks right now will lead to stronger positions and flexibility...All right, these aren't realistic new ways of seeing things. That's because it is only my own new beginnings that I can have control over.

September 8, 2010

Remember that thing about new beginnings I mentioned yesterday? I think it's pretty cool that you have a new year and then 10 days later, a day of atonement. It's like the bargain is fixed. You've started a new path, so all your atonement is about old business, so what's the point of punishment? "Yeah, sure I shoplifted, but that was way back before they had electronic chips so it doesn't count..." Anyway, happy new year.

P.S. Everyone and his cousin has been writing me to ask where the heck I food-shopped that there were no people crowding the aisles looking for gefilte fish. That's when I realized - I was buying at an Arab supermarket, and most of the Arabs are fasting during the day. So even though they do carry gefilte fish and other delicacies, a proportion of their customers might have been otherwise occupied.

September 9, 2010

Who is not celebrating in this country today? Only the Christians, right? Today is Rosh Hashana AND Eid at-Fitr and many of us seem to have a feeling there may be no more celebrations in the near future.

This year we have been flitting from one celebration to another - every one is having parties or dinners, or looking for them. I'm still free Saturday morning...

عطلة سعيدة

September 10, 2010

Apparently Time Magazine has depicted us as sitting around in cafes and enjoying our economic success and not thinking about peace. Such bull. We DO sit around in cafes. We've always sat around in cafes, since the beginning of Tel Aviv. And we talk about peace less than we talk about how to survive under the constant stress of attack. Look at last night. Three rockets from Gaza and we reprise. And that was a holiday. What exactly would you do - readers of Time Mag - to promote peace?

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