Thoughts about the Madness in Abraham's Cave (1994) Steve Reich and Beryl Korot
This chapter presents an essay about The Cave written at the invitation of and published in the New York Times, Sunday, March 13, 1994. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on the West Bank is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. Since 1968, it has been the only place on Earth where they both actually pray in the same building. Traditionally, it is the site that Abraham/Ibrahim bought from Ephron the Hittite about 4,000 years ago to bury his wife Sarah, and where he and some of their descendants are buried. It also represents the central metaphor of The Cave. Both Reich and Korot knew when they set out to make this work that the place resonated not only with the events of the ancient past but with the present Israeli–Arab conflict as well. They chose, however, to steer away from the overtly political and to focus instead on the response of Israeli Jews, Palestinian Muslims, and Americans to questions about the ancient biblical and koranic characters associated with this site. In this way, current events emerged indirectly into a dialogue with the ancient past.
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