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Questioning his Jewish faith, his friends and his semitraditional family, Canadian playwright Garfinkel (The Trials of John Demjanjuk) sets off on a stylized odyssey for meaning throughout contemporary Israel and Palestine. "It would be nice," he writes, "to stumble upon a burning bush... even a neon sign that says 'This way to revelation, idiot.' " What he does find-the story of a house near Jerusalem shared by an Arab and a Jew-challenges his Zionist school education and compels him to uncover the human, historical and political truths of the house and its occupants. His intent is to write a play possibly using this unusual living arrangement as a metaphor for peace. But along the way, as Garfinkel explores the West Bank, visits college buddies now Orthodox converts and tours the Qulandia refugee camp, his moral compass twirls, each adventure underscored by dramatized flashbacks of contradictory classroom lessons. Referring to thinkers like "new historian" Benny Morris and such cultural heroes as Ben-Gurion and Moses, Garfinkel creates a nuanced and engaging journey full of ethical inquiry and ethnic anxiety. Simply put, the Holy Land he experiences is not the land he studied. Readers looking for a grittier, more journalistic view of Jewish-Palestinian relations should look elsewhere; others, however, will empathize with his efforts to keep the faith. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.