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Benyamin Goes Christian

by Ashley Grashaw
Oct 6, 2008

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Ashley Grashaw

Born and bred Catholic, I have an intimate knowledge of confession, penance, guilt, and the Agnus Dei. Don't tell my priest this, but I've been tempted on more than one occasion to karaoke "Ave Maria" — the only thing stopping me are high octaves and a little thing my CCD teacher liked to call "sacrilege." And the closest I've ever come to exploring a different faith (Buddhism) was ten minutes of uninterrupted meditation in a heat yoga class.

But I'm not the only one who likes to play with the limits of her faith. For one full year, journalist Benyamin Cohen, an Orthodox Jew, set out to explore the inner workings of Christianity. With a stamp of approval from his rabbi, Cohen watched Christian wrestling matches, accompanied Mormon missionaries, and even confessed his sins to a Catholic priest! In the end, his journey helped him reconnect with his Jewish faith. He regales us with his stories in his new book, My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith.

And we want to hear from you. Have you ever explored another religion? If so, did it strengthen your faith, or weaken it?

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