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Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith by Benyamin Cohen

A charming spiritual journey in which an Orthodox Jew discovers that "Hanging out with Jesus has made me a better Jew."

Benyamin Cohen
First off - this is not one of those stories of conversion.

Rather, Benyamin Cohen does not feel fulfilled by his experiences with the synagogue or the hundreds of rules that an Orthodox Jew must follow. He decides to go to the other side of the street and see if the grass is greener (he literally grew up across the street from a Methodist church that seemed so much more vibrant and alive and happy than the synagogue that was attached to his house).

Cohen gets permission from a Rabbi to spend a year with the Christians - he goes to church every Sunday (after synagogue on Saturdays this makes for some long weekends I am sure) and treats the experience as a wandering anthropologist looking into the strange and wondrous world of Christianity.

What follows is a remarkable journal of one man's exploration of Judaism and Christianity - some of it mainstream, some odd (Christian professional wrestling, for example) but all of it treated respectfully by a man who is searching for what he's missing in his own faith. On the way he finds it and the reader is blessed with wonderful writing, witty insights, touching observations and, quite simply, the experience of a great read.

I am writing from the perspective of an active, involved Christian and I find myself chuckling at some of his offbeat observations about the quirky things we do. I also learned a lot about Judaism along the way. I am sure some would find offense, but...whatever. It was not written in the spirit of offense and if they are offended they should grow up some.

One of the best books of the year for me.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: My Jesus Year.

Reviewed on December 26, 2008.

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