Tel Aviv Diary September 9-13, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - September 9-13, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 9, 2017

what does a free spirit do on Shabbat when most of the obligations are finished or undoable? go shopping. We are planning to walk the 'shvil yisrael' in 2 weeks and need shoes. So we started out on the internet and found that Columbia was listed as being open today. herzlia has far more liberal laws for shabbat than tel aviv. So we drove over and it was closed. the outlet mall a few blocks over however was not only open but crowded with families. It's a kind of horseshoe strip mall, filled with cheap stores and lots of really leftover stuff scattered with a few good shops like raisins in shit. After a few major failures in which we disappointed the Arab salespeople who must be working on commission, we went into Richochet. There was a small display - about 2 meters long and 1 1/2 a meter high, and no salesmen or seats in sight. One guy was in the corner between the bathing suits and the tshirts talking on the phone, and there were a few Russians mosying around and talking to each other. there was a door that said "sandal shop" but as soon as i opened the door the guy on the phone warned me that the door was for employees only. "So where do we find the shoes?" He pointed up. I was about to ask if they come from Allah, but he immediately got off the phone and brought over a three meter ladder. "Tell me what you want and I'll get it for you." Abed did not realize that Ezi has funny feet since his chemotherapy and had to try on at least 6 pairs of heavy heavy work shoes. I bought the first pair i tried on, but now i'm afraid to see if they are good because my selection may have been influenced by my fear of Ahmed going up and down this rickety ladder.

He was incredibly patient.

Now we've got to take a walk to try them before we go to the movies. I'm terrified.

September 10, 2017>

I've learned a few words of sign language from the speeches in Florida, and whole bunch of Spanish. How can I think about anything but the hurricanes in Florida?

And yet the number of high-profile people being arrested in this country is mind-boggling. The amount of corruption that is being ferreted out might be terribly depressing were it not for the fact that we always knew about that corruption but didn't know what to do about it. In our condition of such security sensitivity the fact that there could be financial considerations for individual gain is beyond belief.

Our tensions are mounting as we await some kind of action on Ezi's situation. Since the biopsy recommended another biopsy we've been okay, but today it's beginning to feel like we should be doing something more than relying on our old friend Dr. Kirshner who saw Ezi through two bouts of his lymphoma enemy. Of course turning to other opinions is confusing and depressing.

September 11, 2017

A big leak in one of the neighbor apartments threatens to hit our electrical system so we had to turn off the water. And something screwed up our internet all evening. And I've got a colonoscopy first thing in the morning. A very bad combination of events.

Don't tell me that Russia is getting ready to rule the world too. Or that Hamas is ready for another war with us. I've got enough trouble of my own for the moment.

September 12, 2017

By 11 I was home and would have been ready to roll - but unfortunately the cold air in the hospital chilled me to the bone and now my nose will not stop dripping and every part of me aches. the colonoscopy was nothing compared to this cold, which has floored me at least for the day. The whole procedure took almost no time, and i was undressed for maybe an hour, conscious and unconscious, but now I have even less patience for the world outside.

And the neighbor who keeps coming to the door, our poor holocaust survivor, who in her eighties is still managing her life despite all the terrible voices in her head, is still battling the ancient plumbing in our building. Most of us have changed the pipes in our apartments but apparently hers are original and are flooding her kitchen and I fear coming dangerously close to the electricity and the plumber comes and goes and can't get in. It's dangerous to us all and there is nothing that i can do I'm out of commission but Ezi and another neighbor are working on keeping things in check at least until we can put her together with a plumber. Just think what a metaphor today is - as much as I take care of my own plumbing my neighbor's plumbing is just as important to my health.

Fell in love tonight.

I don't know what's taken me so long to see the film of Ben Gurion, since as I child I respected him very much. But tonight I gobbled up every word of the interview with him - Just the concept of a leader with values, a philosopher, an intellectual, and most of all a man of deep moral values - he made me ashamed of this world we are living in.

September 12, 2017

the traffic was my only 'rest' today. hours and hours. not just mine. Natasha was supposed to come over at 9:30 in the morning and at 10:15 she called to say she was stuck. This kind of mess continued off and on until i tried to pick up the tel aviv kiddies. At 2:20 I left home and arrived at 3:15, picked them up, came back to Ramat Aviv, cursing the holidays that make everyone desperate to get their work done in time before the vacation. Thousands are going abroad, many vacationing in the local hotels, others locking themselves into their homes. We are the latter. I too am trying to get things done. But the traffic is killing me.

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.

Tel Aviv Diary September 19-23, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - September 19-23, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 19, 2017

The Arab-Jewish Theater hosted Rafi Weichert this evening in honor of his new book of poems about Jaffa. And it was a lovely evening. At the same time the Ophir prize ceremony was being held for the best film this year. The prize was given to Foxtrot.

And in case I don't get this out in time for the new year: If I have done anything in the past year to annoy or offend you, it is not too late. Think about what you did to make this happen and ask me for forgiveness.

September 20, 2017

I've done my Kaparah = instead of a chicken around my head I burnt the gefilte fish. You see, this morning we went to the pools at Ramle and rowed around the underground cavern for a few hours, and then went home a bit too tired to think straight. I had imagined the caverns would be like in the HaSamba movies, with all these tunnels you row through, but this was more like a big tank, the tunnels having been closed for years. But it was a remarkable visit to pools that are 1200 years old.

Anyway Ezi whipped up some chopped liver instead of the fish, and we had chicken soup with kreplach, honey-mustard chicken, rice, the kale salad I'm addicted to, and to top it off, silan cake. Very traditional new year food. And now the kids are asleep in the living room.

Once in a couple dozen years our new year coordinates with the Muslem new year. And this year is the year. What an amazing thing it is then that Abbas and Netanyahu are now being manipulated into declaring their desire for peace at the UN. Who knows? Maybe this is the year...

September 21, 2017

This is the reading from a few weeks ago at Milta Books in Rehovot.

and this is the abbreviated talk i gave at the World Congress of Jewish Studies on Kurt Gerron

So Fall arrived and we didn't even leave the house to feel it. New years in Israel, the Islamic new year, and the first day of autumn and we watched wonder woman with the little kids, skipping the poson gas parts and explaining how she understands that there is good and evil in everyone and evil has to be struggled against. That's worth something, isn't it?


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