Available late April 2015.
“The LORD set his love upon you and chose you…because the LORD loves you” – Deuteronomy 7: 7-8
From the Kippah to the Cross tells the moving conversion story of Jean-Marie Élie Setbon (née Jean-Marc Setbon). Raised in a non-observant Jewish family, Jean-Marie first encountered Jesus Christ on a crucifix at the age of eight. He felt an inexplicable attraction to Christ on the cross and would spend hours contemplating Him and began to develop a deeply personal relationship with Christ.
Jean-Marie knew that this growing love for Jesus would not be tolerated by his family but his attraction to Christ was so intense that he could not fight it. His practice of making the sign of the cross and praying after his family went to bed soon turned into sneaking off on Sundays to visit Sacré-Couer church and even to attend Mass. Finally, at fifteen, unable to bear his double-life any longer, Jean-Marie resolved to convert to Catholicism in spite of the scandal it would cause. But God had other plans.
Instead, Jean-Marie ended up delving deeper into the faith of his ancestors, moving to Israel to pursue rabbinical formation and returning to France eight years later as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. There he found work at a Jewish school and synagogue, married and had seven children. But, in spite of his sincere dedication to his Jewish faith, Jean-Marie’s love and attraction to Jesus remained, becoming the source of a long and difficult internal struggle.
Jean-Marie’s conversion is a story about the ties of identity, about the battle between reason and the desires of the heart, but above all it is a love story between Christ, the lover —the relentless yet patient pursuer— and man, his beloved.
Jean-Marie Élie Setbon was born in France in 1964 to mostly secularized Jewish parents. Mysteriously attracted to Jesus Christ since the age of eight, he began going regularly to Mass a few months before his bar mitzvah. After secondary school, he continued his search for God in Israel, where he lived in kibbutzim, served in the Israeli Army, and attended two different rabbinical schools. In 1989 he returned to France an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. He entered the Catholic Church in 2008 and is a lecturer and an educator specializing in theology and biblical exegesis.
Praise for From the Kippah to the Cross:
"An absolutely riveting story of how a non-religious Jewish boy, gifted with an irresistible attraction to the God of the Cross, delves deeper into his Jewish roots and becomes an ultra-Orthodox Jew with a 'secret' love for Jesus. Filled with twists and turns, this book will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow the heartfelt true story of a Jewish-Christian being led by God's providential love."
– Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, Author, Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures