Thoughts on “My Jesus Year”

A few months ago, the book “My Jesus Year” by Benyamin Cohen grabbed my attention in the book store. The fly leaf synopsis spoke of Benyamin’s dissatisfaction with his Jewish heritage, and his subsequent journey to answer the question, “What would it be like to be a Christian?” I’ve finally had time to read it. It’s funny, actually hilarious, in places. It carries a message for people of all faiths, if we can be open to listen.
Interfaith dialogue, speaking with and experiencing worship with, people of other faiths will not destroy our own. When we begin with a solid grounding in our own faith, and we step out with an open and respectful attitude to others, God speaks to us. On the last page Benyamin says, “It took going out of my comfort zone, being a stranger in a strange land, to make me realize just how much I cherish my own faith. I now have a new appreciation for our prayers, our people and our rituals. It seems odd to say it, but I guess it’s true. Hanging out with Jesus has made me a better Jew.”
I believe that Benyamin is right. Openness rather than judgment, respect rather than fear, actual experience rather than hearsay can teach us so much. Although, at times I wished that Benyamin had written more about experiences with Christians like me, his respectful presentation of the many forms of Christianity had much to teach me. This book is a good read. I recommend it.

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