"This imaginative and intensively researched novel vividly portrays the preteen Jesus, his family, friends, and community under Roman rule of the first century CE. Yeshua, as he is called in Hebrew, emerges from this portrait as a compassionate, insightful, scholarly, courageous, playful yet mature young person who has a deep spiritual instinct for his emerging higher calling. Built around the adventure of Yeshua’s first pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Passover, Stepien brings the reader, with his photographic-like writing, right into the sights, smells, sounds, and characters of Nazareth and Jerusalem of these times. With liberal use of Biblical quotes, prayers, Aramaic and Hebrew terms spoken and sung by the characters, this novel reminds the reader that these ancient words were part of the study, consciousness, and everyday life of our ancestors 2,000 years ago. It challenges us to think about not only this episode in Yeshua’s life, but about the entire cultural context of Jewish life in Israel from which Christianity soon emerged."
Rabbi Dorit Edut
Pluralistic Rabbi, Founder of Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network