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Since I have returned from a sabbatical year in Israel, many friends have asked me whether I had a "good experience." I do not know how to answer them. It is hard to find adjectives to describe my year. I usually respond by replacing "good" with "full," or "intense," or "tumultuous." This fall on the eve of the Jewish new year (rash hashana), commentators in Israel itself were hard pressed to interpret the past year and to find the right adjectives. Early in my stay Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, and later the war in Lebanon flared up. I and my family were living on the Christian moshav, Nes Ammim, in Western Galilee about fifteen kilometers from the Lebanese border between Akko and Nahariya. My son now knows what a Cobra attack helicopter looks like and that an F-16 fighter-jet can outmaneuver anything in the sky. He has seen them perform overhead on their retaliatory raids in Lebanon.
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