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As I sit in my parents den, surrounded by friends--my house was always the central gathering place--I am transported back to another time when my greatest concern was where to eat and my lone ambition in life was to have sex with someone other than myself.

Allan, my closest friend, is obviously going through a similar experience.

"Itís like being in a time warp," he says.

During my stay, I stock up on toothpaste and deodorant, printer cartridges and Reneeís salad dressing--all prohibitively expensive, or in the case of the latter, unavailable, in Israel.

At the airport, when the time comes to say goodbye, I cry unabashedly. My parents strain to watch us until the last possible moment. It is then that Ben, blissfully unaware that he wonít see his grandparents for at least another year, manages to break loose from Galit and make a mad dash for my mother.

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