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THE LAWS OF RETURN

In 1994, I spent my first year of college at a university in Israel, in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv. Each Thursday and Saturday night, all of us American students would take a bus or a cab down to Ben Yehuda Street, in Jerusalem, and find the place exploding with the other American students. We sat on the floor of a lounge and drank hot wine in sugar-rimmed glasses. We danced at a club to a playlist that began with Ace of Base and ended with “Hotel California” every single night. We ate pizza made by people who had never met an Italian off of cardboard squares instead of plates. The boys ate shawarma, which I objected to for feminist reasons (meat being showcased on a spit—I don’t know, I felt strongly about this at the time) and we ate our weight in hummus and falafel. A month in, as we wandered the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem, I found a small, cafeteria-style vegetarian café called the Village Green. I ordered the vegetable soup. There was a never-ending

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