The Cave of the Patriarchs houses the double tombs of Abraham and Sarah, their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, and Isaac’s and Rebecca’s son Jacob and Jacob’s wife Leah.
It is divided into a Jewish side and a Muslim side so that the two groups do not intermingle inside. To Jews, it is known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and to the Muslims, it is know as the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Cave of the Patriarchs
Hebron is within the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. There are about 250,000 Palestinians and 700 Jews living there. Around the time we went, there had been some violent incidents and people we met in both Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva advised us not to go.
Our guide suggested we go on a Friday morning around 9 am when only a few people would be around because the Muslims would be praying in their mosques. So that’s what we did. We went into the Jewish side where there was a small number of men and women praying.
The inside is beautiful, but of particular note was the deeply peaceful feeling that surrounds you and lifts your spirits. It is a perfect place for contemplation.
Very few people were around outside at this time except for a small troop from the Israeli army consisting of both men and women soldiers. Israel is one of the few countries in the world, which includes Norway and Eritrea, that requires military service for women.
We were long gone by the afternoon when a couple of violent incidents occurred.
Yemeni Jewish Music
As we approached Jerusalem, we stopped in a small town for a concert of Yemeni Jewish music.
This concert was in a room inside a school that was packed with local Yemenite Jews, many of whom were older in years, and who knew the folk songs by heart.
Everyone came with home-made traditional sweets, breads, and nuts to share. The audience listened, sang along, and danced.
Many seemed to know all of the songs. And some of the much older audience members enjoyed it all with their eyes closed, head held high, singing along, and certainly dreaming of their homeland.