You may not have heard of Stanley Milgram, but chances are you will be aware of his psychology experiment from 1961. In it, he arranged for a dour scientist in a grey lab-coat to instruct certain people ("teachers") to administer increasingly severe electric shocks to an affable stranger in an adjacent room if he gave the wrong answers to questions in a test.
Several weeks ago, I found myself on a coach hurtling towards the heart of Beirut, a city once described as a ''paradise on Earth'', thanks to its stunning coastline (still very much in evidence), and as the ''Paris of the Middle East'', due to its French influences and vibrant cultural and intellectual life.
In the summer of 2014 the majority of us were glued to our TV screens watching in dismay and fear as yet another Gaza war unfolded. As anti-Israel protests became a common sight on the streets of the UK, members of the community were making frequent and frantic calls to family and friends in Israel checking everyone had survived the latest rocket attack.
This Sunday will be another day of remembrance. In one of the most moving public Jewish occasions of the year, ex-servicemen and women, an ever-reducing number of aged veterans, will parade past the Cenotaph on Whitehall.
I'm sitting on a sun-blushed patio, sipping a mug of hot camomile tea and gazing out at mile upon mile of rolling, sun-scorched hills. The herby scent of fresh mountain air fills the lungs and does much to soothe the soul.
In short, I feel like I've arrived in paradise. Especially since the only sound to ripple the silence is soft, sibilant bird-song.
The room was full of people, their voices increasing in volume as each person sought to make him- or herself heard above the noise. I gazed up at the sea of faces, snatches of conversation washing over me - holidays, weddings, a burst of laughter that struck me like a punch in the gut.
Whether or not he was the greatest musician of his generation is subject to debate. Leonard Bernstein himself certainly thought he was. Was he one of the greatest Jewish musicians of the 20th century? No doubt whatsoever.
I completed my accountancy qualifications, worked my way to a senior position at a leading US investment bank, and I was able to negotiate working part-time after my twin daughters were born. I had a stable, well-paid job and good career prospects. However, something was missing. I wanted to give my girls more time and attention than even my part-time arrangement would allow.