Crouched behind a metal Dump­ster near the Gaza Strip, the sound of rockets exploding nearby, polit­ical sci­ence pro­fessor Bill Miles flashed back to his child­hood, when he was a third-​​grader during the Cuban Mis­sile Crisis.

I dis­tinctly remem­bered the duck-​​and-​​cover drill that I prac­ticed in ele­men­tary school, of being under my desk with my arms wrapped around my head,” Miles said. “Never in my 40-​​plus years of doing research—at times, in dan­gerous regions of the globe—did I ever need to run for cover.”

He did on Dec. 30. Locked out of the high-​​rise apart­ment he was staying in, Miles ran for cover as rockets exploded a short dis­tance from his Ber-​​Sheva, Israel, apart­ment. “They were hit­ting a 10-​​minute walk from where I was staying,” he explained.

In Israel for a three-​​week sab­bat­ical and research project at Ben Gurion Uni­ver­sity, Miles expe­ri­enced hiding out, alone, in a shelter. “That was a little creepy, because most every­body had gone,” he said. “The stu­dents were gone and a lot of busi­nesses were closed.”

Yet, he didn’t feel right about leaving him­self. Knowing a friend’s 25-​​year-​​old daughter was sticking it out, and that others were as well, it felt “unseemly” to him to head back to the states because of his own “per­sonal level of apprehension.”

Besides, he said, “I never felt there was a rocket with my name on it.”

Miles was hoping to study how “border issues” are taught to school­children living in a 60-​​year-​​old country lacking the stable bor­ders of coun­tries like the United States. “The U.S., for example, has had a long­time rela­tion­ship with neigh­boring Canada,” Miles said.

Instead of studying class­rooms — schools were closed — Miles lived the expe­ri­ence of border tensions.

The reality of what I found there was an ironic link to my research,” he said.

Miles describes his expe­ri­ences in a Chron­icle of Higher Edu­ca­tion article, “An Unquiet Sab­bat­ical,” pub­lished Jan. 23, and plans to do more writing about his experience.

You learn to listen for dif­ferent sounds,” Miles wrote in the Chron­icle. “Gadi, an army para­medic and the son of a high-​​school friend, alerts me to the sound of an over­head heli­copter. ‘When you hear that,’ he explains, ‘it means they’re heading for the hos­pital and car­rying either traffic-​​accident casu­al­ties or wounded sol­diers. These days, it’s prob­ably sol­diers from Gaza.’ Since then, I have been hearing helicopters.”

The sound of a jet engine was a relief to him Jan. 30. “I was very happy to land in Logan,” he said.