Who knew that my visit to The Daily Beast would net such wealth about the holiday. I learned that in honor of the holiday of Hanukkah, a new song just came out. It’s sung by the brother of Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Borat) and Y-Love, a black Jewish rapper.
I learned about the song after reading a cool posting from Benyamin Cohen entitled, Jesus Made Me a Better Jew. There I learned about his new book, My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith.
I visited his blog to learn more. This is how the book is described:
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 G-d. 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.
One need not be Jewish, Christian or even a seeker to enjoy this wonderful loop around the Bible Belt. Cohen writes that what he learned from the year’s spiritual journey was that there are many paths people take to find faith in G-d and there are more similarities than differences in various religions.