The Second Coming of “My Jesus Year”

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Benyamin Cohen, former editor of the sadly-demised American Jewish Life magazine, wrote a book called My Jesus Year. It detailed his struggles with Judaism, both on a personal level and growing up as the son of a rabbi in the Deep South. Cohen is a natural-born wise guy, with pulpit humor flowing out of his mouth — but he also has a gift for portraying the dark side of humanity with unflinchingness and grit and, well, humanity.

And now — “just in time for the recession,” he quips — comes the paperback edition!

Jesus is a complicated book. While the press and the author kind of sell the book as a disgruntled Jew discovering his link to Judaism by visiting churches, it’s not that clear-cut — Cohen never really makes peace with the religion that raised him, though, by the book’s end, Cohen and his Jewishness seem to have reached an uneasy truce. His coverage of Christianity in the South, from mega-churches to Ultimate Christian Wrestling, however, is astonishing. It’s like BeliefNet meets “60 Minutes,” only funnier.

Posted on September 1, 2009

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