Without spoiling the story, I will say that light is always a good thing, especially in a dark cave. I used light as metaphor or symbolism throughout the story, from the opening scene on Ben Yehuda Street to the very last pages of the book. Be it man-made or natural, a sunrise or sunset, absence or abundance, I used light as a tool to emphasize concepts such as knowledge, inspiration, power, love, hope, vitality, goodness, truth, etc., or the lack thereof. I was careful to craft a story where light was significant to each character, scene, and message, and if a reader is attentive to light’s usage, the story will expand exponentially.
The opening scene of The Cave takes place at dusk on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. Why did you choose this time and setting to begin your story?
The opening scene was carefully selected to be symbolic of our world and our world’s troubles. The story begins with the setting sun, which symbolizes the fading light of our world because of continuing conflict. The thief, bread, chase, and collision all have metaphorical meaning as well, but I won’t go into those details at th...is time. I will say that Ben Yehuda Street was chosen for its variety of people and cultures that generally come together in harmony, but also because the street has been historically, and tragically, targeted by ideological hatred. For those unfamiliar, Ben Yehuda Street, once a busy thoroughfare in West Jerusalem but closed to traffic about 30 years ago to thwart vehicular terrorist attacks, is now an outdoor pedestrian mall replete with touristy shops, restaurants, street vendors, and street musicians. Ben Yehuda comes alive nearly every day and especially at night, but unfortunately has been subjected to terrorism since Israel’s statehood in the late 1940s.
Ben Yehuda was not only chosen for its multiculturalism, but also for its vitality. Because The Cave is an introspective novel, I needed to get the characters into a setting where deeper conversations could occur. That setting, obviously, is within Zedekiah’s Cave, which enters later in the story. But prior to that, I wanted to use contrast to lay the groundwork, and needed a strong distinction from the quiet setting of a cave. So I searched for a lively setting atypical of introspection, and the loud and lively atmosphere of crowds on Ben Yehuda Street provided an ideal contrast. I chose a restaurant setting because it offered vitality, fraternity, and happiness amongst a mix of cultures.