My Jesus Year
A Rabbi's Son Wanders The Bible Belt
in Search of His Own Faith
By Benyamin Cohen
MY JESUS YEAR:
A RABBI'S SON WANDERS THE BIBLE BELT IN SEARCH OF
HIS OWN FAITH
"A witty memoir that should appeal to Christians and Jews alike
(as well as Wiccans, Jains, and Bahais for that matter.)"
– A.J. Jacobs, author of the New York Times bestselling book The Year of Living Biblically
One day a Georgia-born son of an Orthodox rabbi discovers that his enthusiasm for Judaism is flagging. He observes the Sabbath, he goes to synagogue, and he even flies to New York on weekends for a series of "speed dates" with nice, eligible Jewish girls. But, something is missing. Looking out of his window and across the street at one of the hundreds of churches in Atlanta, he asks, "What would it be like to be a Christian?"
So begins Benyamin Cohen's hilarious journey that is My Jesus Year—part memoir, part spiritual quest, and part anthropologist's mission. Among Cohen's many adventures (and misadventures), he finds himself in some rather unlikely places: jumping into the mosh-pit at a Christian rock concert, seeing his face projected on the giant JumboTron of an African-American megachurch, visiting a potential convert with two young Mormon missionaries, attending a Christian "professional wrestling" match, and waking up early for a sunrise Easter service on top of Stone Mountain—a Confederate memorial and former base of operations for the KKK.
During his year-long exploration, Cohen sees the best and the worst of Christianity— from megachurches to storefront churches; from crass commercialization of religion to the simple, moving faith of the humble believer; from the profound to the profane to the just plain laughable. Throughout, he keeps an open heart and mind, a good sense of humor, and takes what he learns from Christianity to reflect on his own faith and relationship to God. By year's end, to Cohen's surprise, his search for universal answers and truths in the Bible Belt actually make him a better Jew.
"An Oz-like journey ... wonderful."
"A kosher don Quixote."
"An early Christmukkah present."
VINCENT COPPOLA, NOTED AUTHOR
ROB KUTNER, WRITER ON THE CONAN O'BRIEN SHOW
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
BENYAMIN COHEN: GEORGIA AUTHOR OF THE YEAR
Benyamin Cohen is Editorial Director of From the Grapevine and host of the weekly podcast "Our Friend from Israel." He has written for the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, the Huffington Post, Yahoo News and Slate. “My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith” (HarperCollins) was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly and for which Cohen received the Georgia Author of the Year award. He is also the author of "Torah from Dixie: Intriguing Thoughts on the Weekly Torah Portion." He previously served as the Content Director for the Mother Nature Network, and founding editor of both Jewsweek and American Jewish Life Magazine. He is based in Morgantown, West Virginia where he lives with his wife and two dogs.