How does a Jewish woman from Brooklyn become best friends with Jesus?
By listening carefully, says Alexis Eldridge, who will read excerpts from her book, "Conversations with Jesus," from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 2, at the Ashland Branch Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

How does a Jewish woman from Brooklyn become best friends with Jesus?

By listening carefully, says Alexis Eldridge, who will read excerpts from her book, "Conversations with Jesus," from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 2, at the Ashland Branch Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

"To me, it's Jesus," Eldridge says. "He says he is, and he's proven himself as trustworthy. He's asked me to do a lot of irrational things, but they've all panned out."

Eldridge says she has communicated with Jesus for the past several years, and that she wrote the book after he urged her to record their conversations.

The conversations ran the gamut, from abortion to the Holocaust to the meaning of Christmas. While some of Jesus' supposed answers are fairly expected, others fly in the face of conventional Christianity. "He's so misunderstood because of religion," says Eldridge. "He hasn't been able to be known."

Eldridge hasn't always talked to Jesus. After graduating from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, with a Master's in Education, she worked at schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan as a guidance counselor with special education children for nine years, and maintained her own private psychotherapy practice.

"Being a guidance counselor was great," Eldridge says. "I was able to support these kids and guide these families out of the muck."

Shortly before taking a leave of absence and moving upstate, Eldridge had her first experience with Jesus after he appeared in a piece of her artwork.

"The first visitation from Jesus was on a snow day," Eldridge recalls. "He came through one of my paintings."

After resigning from her job with the New York City Board of Education, Eldridge traveled to Europe and Asia and attended the One Light Healing Touch school.

In 2008, Eldridge moved to Virginia, where she wrote "Conversations with Jesus," published by Rainbow Ridge. She moved to Ashland in September 2010 to promote her book and open a healing practice.

"Every six months or so I'll think to myself, 'What if I'm crazy?'" says Eldridge. "What I've come to realize is that I'm probably more sane than most people I've met."

"Whether you believe she's actually talking to Jesus or not, if you take the stuff in the book, there are a lot of lessons in there," says Sierra Faulkner, Eldridge's personal assistant. "There's a lot of good things that can be learned."

Nils Holst is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at holstn@students.sou.edu.