In October 1973, the poet and singer Leonard Cohen –thirty-nine years old, famous, unhappy and at a creative dead end – traveled from his home on the Greek island of Hydra to the chaos and bloodshed of the Sinai desert after Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur. Moving around the front with a guitar and a group of local musicians, Cohen met hundreds of young soldiers at the worst moment of their lives. The war transformed Cohen. He had announced that he was abandoning his music career, but he instead returned to Hydra and to his family, and released one of the best albums of his career. In Who by Fire, journalist Matti Friedman gives us a riveting account of those weeks in the Sinai, drawing on Cohen’s previously unpublished writing and original reporting to create a kaleidoscopic depiction of a harrowing, formative moment for both a young country at war and a singer at a crossroads.
Who By Fire is available for purchase at MacsBacks Books. Click here.
This program is offered in partnership with the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School and the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.