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Olivia and Aaron Cohen


godlytomatosoup

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There's this couple with a family YouTube vlog. I don't know if they've been talked about here before, but if they haven't they should be.

[link=http://www.youtube.com/user/aaroncohen]The Cohens[/link]

Aaron and Olivia Cohen have nine kids. I don't know what religion they actually are, but it's clearly something fundie with a Jewish flavor. I think maybe Messianic Judaism?

[link=

coma[/link]

Aaron had multiple surgeries for Crohns and ulcerative colitis back in 2011, and the resultant infection and dehydration landed him in a coma for three months. Olivia and his sister documented this in 52 videos which would have been completely heartbreaking if he hadn't regained consciousness and recovered. He lost a lot of memories as a result of the brain damage, and since all his childhood photos were destroyed in a hard drive crash years ago, there's no record at all of his own childhood. Hence the desperate determination to document and upload every minute of his children's lives. He talks in his introductory video (very rambling and incoherent, but that's clearly the brain injury and not his fault) about how even if Google goes out of business and YouTube's servers all go down, if people watch his children's videos then they'll be cached on those people's web browsers and ISP caches, so they'll never be totally gone.

[link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY9_Qviei7g]Olivia's fast for G-d[/link]

I am fasting for spiritual reasons, the primary motivations being to become the woman G-d wants me to be, to know and do what He wants me to do, and to, in general, become the person He wants me to become.

A few years before the coma Olivia, Aaron's wife, set out on three 40-day water fasts, just like Jesus and Moses, if Jesus and Moses drank nothing but water and ate nothing but one multivitamin a day at their husband's insistence (the vitamin, not the fast itself- that was her idea) and had a very unBiblical interest in their weight.

In her first video she says "I know that normally people fast secretly, but I'm hoping that by doing this I'll help other people fast for God." She knows that this might not be a wise thing to do while looking after seven kids, but "any time you do something for God, he'll bless you and take care of you."

She completed all three fasts and started eating again, and was pregnant again seven months later. If there were any continuing ill effects from the fasting, she didn't report them - but then, she wouldn't. She looks horrifyingly gaunt and ill in the later videos of her fast.

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Aw, man, and here I was hoping that the Olivia in question was the one from Not So Fresh Modesty! I keep hoping she'll get hitched and decide to quit her (boring and deeply self-involved/immodest) blog.

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They're different, that's for sure.

He's got this Chasidic-style garb, but she's not wearing any of it, and they don't use the same sort of language/terms that ultra-Orthodox Jews usually do.

As for the fasting - yikes!

I've heard a few stories of rabbis who fasted one day/week (as something that was clearly exceptional and just for them), but not 3 water-only fasts of 40 day each, and certainly not for a post-partum woman. Rule #1 is that you aren't supposed to jeopardize your health. She looks scary at the end of her last fast.

I don't know if they are Messianic, or just a couple that went a bit nutty on their own after going through those health issues and looking for God.

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A church acquaintance of mine did a couple of water only fasts, as prayer and petition that her peeping Tom husband wouldn't go to jail (or would get out of jail? I don't really remember, the whole thing was so f-ed up.)

Anyway, she did one. Then, several years later, she did another. She had to take juice the last 10 days of her second one. I don't know why her body reacted differently to the two fasts, but I certainly did. It was pretty horrible to see.

It was weird to see a wife go through that to petition God on behalf of her law breaking husband. Just, what?

(I've completed a three day, water only fast. It wasn't particularly difficult. It wasn't particularly spiritually fulfilling either.)

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She was scary skinny there at the end. How in the world did she continue to care for seven children while not eating for that long?

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