Star of David and Mirhab in the Yeni Camii Mosque in Thessaloniki (2016, image © Manoël Pénicaud, courtesy Shared Sacred Sites)

It’s not by accident that some of the world’s most revered religious figures are known in many languages. Abraham, or Ibrahim, plays such a central role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that the three faiths are called “Abrahamic.” Samuel, Shmuel, and صموئيل are all names for the same prophet from the Hebrew Bible. And the list goes on. This week, a workshop and ongoing exhibition — described as “a contemporary pilgrimage” — examine physical spaces that embody the same kinds of interfaith meaning.

Shared Sacred Sites brings together three New York cultural institutions: the New York Public Library, the Morgan Library, and the James Gallery at the City University of New York. The exhibition considers tolerance in an age when stories of religious conflict — whether in Jerusalem, New York, or Berlin — abound. “This project provides an alternative narrative to one-dimensional accounts of cultural, ethnic, and spiritual conflict,” explains a brochure. What began in 2015, as an exhibition at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille, has already been shown in Tunis, Marrakesh, Paris, and Thessaloniki.

This week’s workshop begins on Wednesday with a conversation between three faith leaders, moderated by the journalist Anisa Mehdi at the NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. On Thursday, the programming continues at CUNY, where a series of talks will compare a range of sacred sites and connect them to religious discourse in the US today. All three program partners — NYPL, the Morgan Library, and CUNY — are currently hosting exhibitions of faith-related materials, which draw on their own collections and beyond.

When: Wednesday, March 28 until Thursday, March 29
Where: Wednesday — Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room, New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (476 Fifth Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan); Thursday — Martin E. Segal Theatre, First Floor, The Graduate Center, CUNY (365 Fifth Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan)

Both men and women pray inside Elijah’s Cave, Haifa, Israel (2017, image © Guy Raivitz, courtesy Shared Sacred Sites)

More info at Shared Sacred Sites.

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Daniel A. Gross

Daniel A. Gross is a former editor at Hyperallergic, and he is a writer and radio producer in New York City. Some of his stories have appeared in The Guardian, 99% Invisible, The Atlantic,...

One reply on “Three NYC Institutions Come Together to Examine Three Intertwined Religions”

  1. Dear Daniel A. Gross:

    In your first sentence you’ve left out ‘Avraham’ (which would correspond to ‘Judaism’), but I’m sure you know that. These, and all the names in the Torah (The Five Books of Moses), appear in many languages, all transliterations from the original אַבְרָהָם (Avraham) in Hebrew — for instance, Abrahán in Spanish, Аврам (Avram) in Bulgarian, Αβραάμ (Avraám) in Greek, 亞伯拉罕 (Yàbólāhǎn) in Chinese, Ibrahimu in Swahili, ਅਬਰਾਹਾਮ (Abarāhāma) in Punjabi, Aperahama in Maori, and ʻOʻAberahama in Hawawiian, just to name a few.

    (As I am not by any stretch a linguist, I wish to thank Google translate for all its help.)

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