If your tolerance for American-Jewish kibbutz experiences can be stretched to include just one more book, the unpretentious reportage of Michael Gorkin is not a bad choice to wind up the everlasting parade of journals. Gorkin, who had a mild Reform Jewish religious training and an interest in communal living, dropped in and out of radical student groups in the U.S. (whose anti-Israel dialectic added remnants to his intellectual baggage), and returned to the kibbutz Bilat on the Jordan border to pursue some questions about Israeli politics and motivations, about being Jewish, etc. However, this is merely a frame for his generous and conscientious reporting on all aspects of Bilat, mainly through interviews and conversations. No quiet bystander, however, Gorkin gets hot under the collar, holds up his end of shouting arguments, absorbs gossip while attending social occasions, lolling beside the algae-filled pool and toiling in the chicken coop and olive groves; the undercurrents of a tense, workable, ingrown village surface easily. Some young members chafe at restrictions, a dissenter is refused reentry into the community, scuttlebutt is a wildfire -- there is certainly intolerance. But on the other hand one is reassured that the kibbutz is inhabited by neither saints nor social engineers but settled villagers with whom a lively young American can find an easygoing companionship as well as some food for thought. And against the fight for survival that is as habitual as the boiled eggs and herring, ""small town"" foibles seem doubly precious. An open, guileless report, on the border of some home truths.