The Cult That Believes in Jesus and Follows a 'Jewish Way of Life'

A visit to a café run by members of the Twelve Tribes movement, nestled in the pastoral hills of New York State, offers a rare glimpse of one of the more conservative religious groups in the United States

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The Coxsackie Yellow Deli. Throbs with life, even as it tells the story of one of America’s most insular communities.
The Coxsackie Yellow Deli. Throbs with life, even as it tells the story of one of America’s most insular communities. Credit: Tzach Yoked
Tzach Yoked
Tzach Yoked
Tzach Yoked
Tzach Yoked

It’s Sunday around noon, in the town of Coxsackie in New York State’s Greene County. Old, dilapidated stone buildings line deserted streets. Planks of wood have been hammered into the window frames of abandoned houses to prevent looting. Piles of garbage overflow onto street corners. Here and there young couples can be seen sitting on the steps in front of their homes, holding glasses of beer, gazing at the few cars that pass by. Most of the storefronts are empty, the shops they once housed now out business. Outside a domestic-items store that remains open, a dour-looking elderly proprietor sits on a low wooden chair, waiting for customers who don’t come. About 10,000 people live in Coxsackie, but an unsettling aura of a ghost town pervades the streets.

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