The Legacy of Abraham

He is beloved by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Can this bond stop them from hating one another?

My first real experience of the patriarch Abraham's crossover appeal came on the splendid sun-spangled day in June when I took a crosstown cab to arrange my son's circumcision. Jews have circumcised for thousands of years--ever since God (as the Torah tells it), having made a history-altering pact with Abraham, directed him to "cut my Covenant in your flesh." Some biblical commentators suggest that the circumcision was meant as much as a reminder to the Lord as to the Israelites, a kind of divine Post-it not to extirpate these people. My thought as we rolled eastward across Manhattan was, There must...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!