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    Albert Einstein was the first modern-day celebrity and, decades after his death, still has the world’s most recognizable face. His influence
    is seen in much of the technology we use every day: GPS, remote controls, weather forecasts, even toothpaste. But it’s not just Einstein’s
    scientific discoveries that continue to shape our world. His legacy underpins the search for aliens, the rescue of refugees, the invention
    of time machines, and the debunking of fake news. He appears in new books, TV shows, and movies all the time–and fans are paying
    millions for Einstein relics at auction.
    Award-winning author and journalist Benyamin Cohen has a bizarre side hustle as the manager of Einstein’s official social media
    accounts, which have 20 million followers–more than most living celebrities. In The Einstein Effect, Cohen embarks on a global quest
    to unearth Einstein’s ongoing relevance today. Along the way, he meets scientists and celebrities, speaks to dozens with the last name
    Einstein (including two rabbis), and even tracks down the brain of Einstein, stolen from his body during the autopsy. Cohen shows us the
    myriad ways the Nobel Prize winner’s influence is still with us, giving an in-depth–and often hilarious–look at the world’s favorite genius
    like you’ve never seen him before. Last week Ari Hirsch from The Country Vues had the opportunity to interview Benyamin Cohen to
    discuss Einstein & his new book.

    How is Albert Einstein
    as popular as he is, 68
    years after he died?
    It’s pretty amazing that
    Einstein has more than
    20 million fans on social
    media. You don’t see
    William Shakespeare
    or Isaac Newton on
    Twitter. Einstein also
    has more followers than
    most living celebrities.
    And I think that’s
    because he’s universally
    beloved — no matter
    your age, where you live,
    Republican or Democrat,
    Jewish or not Jewish,
    young or old, he’s one
    of the few people that
    everyone can agree on.
    How did you come to run the Albert
    Einstein social media platform?
    Many years ago, I read a book about
    Einstein’s autopsy. The pathologist
    performing the procedure stole Einstein’s
    brain and kept it hidden in his basement in
    a beer cooler for decades. It’s a crazy, but
    true, story and I wondered, “Wow, what
    else don’t I know about Einstein?” So it set
    me on a journey. I’m a journalist and I kept
    writing articles about quirky things about
    Einstein. Eventually, the Albert Einstein
    Archives, which owns his social media
    accounts, contacted me and asked if I’d
    become Einstein to his millions of fans.
    I’ve been doing it now for six years. It’s an
    awesome responsibility to speak for one of
    the smartest people of the 20th century.
    Where is the Einstein estate & who runs
    it now?
    Einstein left his archives not to Princeton,
    but to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

    He was a co-founder
    of the school and was
    an ardent Zionist. As a
    matter of fact, Einstein’s
    first trip to the U.S. was
    with Chaim Weizmann.
    The two of them traveled
    around America raising
    money for Israel. Anyway,
    Hebrew University has
    Einstein’s actual Nobel
    Prize and more than
    85,000 documents from
    Einstein — including
    the original copy of the
    theory of relativity. This
    summer in Jerusalem they
    broke ground on a new
    building – the world’s
    largest Einstein museum.
    It should open in a year or two.
    Please tell everyone about your new book
    “The Einstein Effect”
    My new book shows the modern-day
    relevance of the world’s favorite genius. For
    example, not many people know this, but
    the theory of relativity laid the foundation
    for our GPS system. So the next time Waze
    is directing you through traffic, you have
    Albert Einstein to thank for that. I also
    spent time with a Harvard astronomer who
    is searching for aliens and his work is all
    based on Einstein’s research. I interviewed
    celebrities and artists and more than a dozen
    people named Einstein (including two
    Rabbi Einsteins!) to show how he serves as
    an inspiration to so many people on a daily
    What was Einstein most famous for?
    He’s probably most well-known for E=mc2
    or the theory of relativity, but I think what’s
    truly fascinating about Einstein’s legacy is
    that the average person doesn’t understand

    any of the physics. They simply look to
    Einstein as this totem of genius. It’s a very
    Jewish, almost Yeshivish, concept where
    we hold people with such intellect in high
    Was Einstein Jewish?
    Of course! During research for my book,
    I found the certificate filled out by his
    mohel in 1879 at a shul in Ulm, Germany.
    Einstein’s Hebrew name was Avraham. On
    a much more serious note, Einstein was one
    of the most famous Jews in Germany during
    the rise of Hitler. The Nazis considered
    Einstein a public enemy and reportedly put
    a $5,000 bounty on his head. He was able
    to flee to America, and when he got here,
    he made it his personal mission to rescue
    his fellow German Jews. He spent his own
    money (and he was not wealthy) helping
    relocate Jews from Germany all across the
    globe – including to Mexico and Alaska.
    Einstein also launched the International
    Rescue Committee to help Jews escape the
    Holocaust. The organization is still around
    today. It’s one of the world’s largest refugee
    aid organizations. I actually interviewed a
    Jewish Ukrainian refugee who was saved
    last year thanks to Einstein’s group.
    How Jewish was he?
    Einstein saw what Hitler did in Germany
    and, even though Einstein wasn’t religious
    (he didn’t go to morning minyan, for
    example), being Jewish was, I think,
    the guiding principle of his entire life. It
    motivated so much of what he did. Even
    some of his scientific research was done

    to try and beat the Nazis from discovering
    it first. On the table beside Einstein’s
    deathbed, a nurse found papers of a speech
    Einstein was in the middle of writing. It was
    all about the importance of Israel, and he
    was hoping to deliver it a few weeks later
    on Yom Ha’atzmaut. The Einstein archives
    now has those documents.
    Do you know if Einstein met any of the
    gedolim from his time?
    Einstein had a decades-long friendship with
    Rabbi Chaim Tchernowitz, a rosh yeshiva in
    Odessa who later immigrated to the United
    States. Einstein and Tchernowitz used to
    go sailing and talk about Judaism. When
    Tchernowitz launched a project called the
    Talmudic Encyclopedia, Einstein served on
    its advisory council and helped raise funds
    and awareness for it.
    Do you plan on doing a sequel on
    We’ll see how well this one sells! I may
    write my next book about what it’s like
    being Jewish in West Virginia, where I live.
    I have a lot of good stories about that.
    Being the expert that you are on Einstein
    at this point, If you could ask him three
    questions, what would they be?
    – What’s the best piece of advice you ever
    – You’re known as someone who was very
    pithy and funny. What’s your favorite joke?
    – Brisket or cholent?