BangItOut Faults Jewschool For Shekel's Conversion

BangItOut has coverage of 50 Shekel’s conversion to Christianity, and according to author Arye Dworken, Shekel’s departure from the faith is all our fault. Or more accurately all our faults for not treating the whackest of all Jewish MCs with kid gloves.

Animosity [as] strong and bitter [as that exhibited towards 50 Shekel on Jewschool] is usually reserved for pedophiles (like Michael Jackson) or murderers. Granted, Sheq shouldn’t be encouraged to rap but we seem to have forgotten that Cohen, at one point, was an Orthodox Jew trying to do something fun within the Orthodox community. Shekel didn’t deserve such blatant spite. He isn’t, uh, Judas. And the incredible thing is that Shekel never responded with equal malice. He just usually backed down and simply took the high road. His patience is a somewhat commendable quality.
The reason I’m responding to this with such attention and detail is, as a critic, as a Jew, as a human being with some sympathy, this story saddens me. While it may be acceptable in certain circles to belittle others to the extent that they have nowhere else to go but out, I don’t think there’s room for that here. Moreover, while the above-quoted critics may not care about Cohen’s transformation, they should. They drove him there after leaving him with exhaustion and depression. They had successfully broken a man.

Earth to Arye Dworken: If you ain’t prepared to battle, don’t step in the ring. Hell, did you sleep through 8 Mile? Trash-talking is as central to MCing as breath technique, and you can’t run crying to mommy every time you get ripped, be it by a critic or a fellow MC. You either improve your skills or you fold your hand. That is simply the nature of the beast. But this is hardly the point.
The last thing we at Jewschool would ever seek to do is to turn people away from Judaism. Perhaps it’s hard to see that with all the criticsm we wage against the Jewish religious and political establishments, and, at times, against Jewish individuals themselves, 50 Shekel being no exception. However, none of our criticism comes from a place of dislike towards Judaism, Jewish people, or even the Jewish State, but rather out of deep concern for the state of our community and our faith. In the case of 50 Shekel, frankly, his act was an embarassment, and it was incumbent upon us to say so.
Then again, sometimes we’re just snarky bastards. And perhaps that’s okay. I consider it, in some ways, bearing the torch of Yiddish humor, which is known for its biting wit and sarcasm. It’s a rare occasion that the things we say are actually intended to hurt anyone (albeit sometimes people need a little verbal joust to be shown the err of their ways). For the most part, we’re just being wise asses and being the progeny of old school alte kockers, you can hardly fault us for that.
Take, for example, all the hullaballoo over Heeb‘s recent slighting of the Hip Hop Hoodios. Heeb wasn’t really out to dis’ the Hoodios. They were happy enough just ignoring them. But the Hoodios kept pushing for Heeb‘s attention. When they finally got it in the form of a wisecrack, the Hoodios called for a boycott of the already struggling publication. Forgive me for finding their response pathetic. As the saying goes: Nevermind what the papers say. Just measure the thickness of the stack.
That being said, as Dworken points out, sometimes the people who comment on Jewschool are downright nasty, and quite frankly, especially towards me. So much so that, at times, I become disenchanted with the project and consider dropping it. But, unlike Shekel, I refuse to give in to the “haters.” A person who is truly committed to their beliefs and values does not cave in the face of such challenges. Thus I agree with Dworken, this truly is a sad story. I would’ve expected better from any MC worth half-his-weight in rhyme.
I can’t help thinking of the Columbine killers. What would’ve happened had their classmates not been so vicious towards them? And what would’ve happened if they had a shred of self-esteem and not have been so overly-sensitive to the tauntings of their classmates? Where does personal responsibility for one’s own reactions enter the picture? Isn’t that what the bar mitzvah symbolizes as a rite of passage? A young man’s entrance into personal responsibility?
And speaking of shreds, in defense of Shred Lexicon, if he was such a whack MC, as Dworken suggests, I find it highly unlikely that Chuck D of Public Enemy would be making a guest appearance on his next album, which he in fact is. In addition, Shred Lexicon is not an anonymous entity hiding behind a screen name, and we did invite Shekel to step to the mic and battle Lexicon. He ignored our invitation. (The irony is also not lost on me that Dworken insults Shred Lexicon in the same breath in which he derides us all for putting Shekel down.)
It is indeed a damn, dirty shame that 50 Shekel has abandoned his faith for another. If truly we had any part in the transgression of such a chilul Hashem, we sorely regret it. One of the goals of yiddishkeit and halakha, particularly the laws of lashon hara, is to foster an ideal in which language is used only to elevate and never to demean. Many of us have failed in this respect, particularly in this instance. And this experience ought to leave each of us with something to think about. Perhaps we could have all dealt with our criticsm of 50 Shekel more tastefully.
I take minimal comfort in the fact that we never stooped as low as The Ju-Tang Clan, who built an entire act around Shekel-bashing. The barely post-pubescent rap troupe released their own parody of “In Da Club” that repeatedly urges Shekel to kill himself. Anonymous sources close to Shekel allege that he may have actually tried shortly before converting.
When I first learned of this information several months ago, it never occured to me that anything we had written may have contributed to these unfortunate events. Thinking back on it now, I’m left somewhat despondent.
Our sincerest apologies to Aviad Cohen. I, personally, can only offer to do teshuva, and hope that he will as well.

68 thoughts on “BangItOut Faults Jewschool For Shekel's Conversion

  1. Honestly, someone should send the Jews for Judaism over to talk to the kid. Anyone who deals with a career in the arts or entertainment (regardless of their talent) will face rejection and will be berated. It comes with the territory, but apparently it was not what Aviad expected. A person who has a hard time dealing with that might be susceptible to the comfort of a group (read: cult). Some missionary clearly got in his head and screwed things up– the comfort and acceptance of a group must have overpowered him, especially after he perceived the Jewish community was rejecting him. I think there are de-programming task forces. I’m sure his family would like for him to work with a counselor.
    Mobius, dont be hard on yourself. In da shul was a gimmick– I for my part never took him seriously as an MC, but I did think the song was amusing. Whatever. We’d be doing a greater disservice if we just said we loved everything every Jew did. That would be silly, you know?

  2. I hope this crap doesn’t discredit the idea of modern jewish music in the eyes of the orthodx communities… Man, that would suck.
    Besides the fact that he wasn’t even all that orthodox to begin with, pushing every jewish bagel big nose stereotype to make up his “jewish” image. Talk about flaw in character and venerability to manipulation…geez.

  3. Now that I think about it, Jews for Jesus are probably giving him money and huge concerts at Jesuspalooza or whatever. Maybe he was just in it for that and didn’t really have a message, Duh!
    goddamn sellout.

  4. on the bit about biting sarcasm being a part of yiddish humor- perhaps the sarcasm (and its nastiness) is more a part of the bitch Jewish Princess in all of us (except the Sabras) than part of any humor. just try recalling the kind of spiteful crap the slow pudgy kid in your class went through, if you went to a jewish school. sure it happens in every school with all types of people, but to me it seems that kind of nastiness is more vivid amongst the jewish kids.

  5. Mobius has a point, to a certain degree, about the tendency for people to get carried away with criticism. The link with the letter he received in response to his article is a good case in point.
    But the responsibility has to go both ways. When people write extremely irresponsible things, paticularly in the political sphere, for their propaganda value, as many of the posters have, they are baiting a sharp response. When that reponse comes, they can’t duck their part in creating a negative situation.
    Some posters, including Mobius, want to say the most outrageous things and then take the high road when the shit hits the fan. OK, so we’re all responsible for the dip to extreme negativity (and I think Mobius would agree).

  6. “He just usually backed down and simply took the high road.”
    Sure sounds like a Christian…not a Jew (or a rapper).
    “If you ain’t prepared to battle, don’t step in the ring…Trash-talking is as central to MCing as breath technique, and you can’t run crying to mommy every time you get ripped, be it by a critic or a fellow MC.”
    Or if you are a whack blogger, just ban them from the site whenever you can’t take it anymore.

  7. I am of the opinion that Jews who get involved with J4J have something wrong with themselves to begin with. (Not saying we shouldnt try to help ’em out)
    I really never gave a crap about 50 Sheqer’s MC’ing capabilities or rather lack thereof and still dont, but Mobius’s post seems to confirm my theory about folks getting involved with J4J.
    Eitan G is another crappy Jewish rapper but he relishes criticism (like getting booted of L’chaim to lifes live broadcast) and keeps on keepin on.
    Matisyahu found a niche as a hasidic rapper, maybe Sheq(er) thinks he will find one as a psuedo Jewishtian.

  8. The suggestion that someone forced him to become a christian is stupid, ignorant and naive. No one held a gun to his head, no one threatened to kill him or his family. It was his choice.
    Every entertainer faces criticism. It comes with the job and if you cannot handle it than you shouldn’t be in the business.
    Besides, there are such significant differences in our beliefs that if he has decided to become christian there already were questions of faith.

  9. Jewschool has nothing to apologize for. Aviad Cohen is a f***ing idiot. You want to take a look at proud Jewish parodists? Check out Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. They had a song, 40 YEARS AGO, called “They ain’t makin’ Jews like Jesus no more.”
    That’s pride. And that’s chutzpah. Fitty Shekel was a joke and an embarrassment.

  10. Ahem. Is this thing on?
    So…umm…okay, this is my first posting on Jewschool. Thanks for having me. What’s that? Oh, yeah. Sure. I’ll take a glass of water. Thanks.
    Where was I? Oh, right. My first posting.I want to thank you all for reading and considering my editorial. But I want to clarify a few things.
    First; I do not place any blame on any singular entity, person, or website as much as those entities, persons, or websites think that’s the case. I think its a collective responsibility. I merely quoted selected postings from Jewschool because they were the easiest to find. I know. I know. No excuse for laziness.
    Now, where’s that water?
    Oh, thanks.
    As far as battling and 8 Mile is concerned…well, that was a movie, which, incidentally, is made up. And who qualifies the parameters of this “ring” we speak of. I only know about engagement rings but that’s because my mother keeps asking me to get married already. Oh, and I saw 8 Mile twice and stayed awake both times.
    And I contest the idea that being a “snarky bastard” is part of Jewish humor. I know a lot of very funny comedians that were extremely Jewish and never really snarky. Take Woody Allen, for example. Listen to his old stand-up and appreciate how smart it was without stooping to the level of criticism and nastiness. If you want a larger list, please contact me.
    Okay, now on to the Hoodios situation. Mobius is completely right about this one. Kudos for being smart enough to see through this. Coincidentally, I happen to be Heeb’s Music Editor and I am honored to be a part of the staff regardless if people think it’s “lame” or “out of touch” or “over” or “uncool,” etc. The point here is that we’re making magazine that we are very proud of, and many people see that and are very appreciative for our efforts (many people on the staff are volunteers, btw). Anyway, the Hoodios response to the sarcastic aside was taken waaaay out of control. While the Hoodios may want to see it as a personal attack, that’s their perogative (as an aside, I found their response way more offensive that the “hullaballoo’ed” line – the spear chucking analogy was not necessary). I personally wish the Hoodios an incredible amount of luck. While I am not personally a fan (which may explain why Heeb has not covered them), they have a serious following in the Latin community. That’s the kind of authenticity everyone is looking for. Nicely done.
    Next: the debate of personal responsibility is an interesting one. To a certain degree, that’s right. People should be accountable for their own lives but that being said, they should also be accountable for the own words. For every action, there’s a reaction. For every catalyst, there’s a…uhhh, reaction.
    Columbine killers? Whoa, nelly. We’re talking about Jewish rap here. Did we hafta get so heavy?
    Re: Shred. Good luck to him as well. I never said he was a “whack MC” because, for one, I never use the word “whack.” Doesn’t look good on me. But Shred could be an amazing rapper. I once again, wish him incredible luck. For the time being, based on what I have heard, it’s not my style. I hope his “crew” (like that slang?) changes my opinion in the future. Moreover, my “ironic” comment (me and Alanis) was not a high and mighty decision but I never questioned Shred’s very being calling him a jerk or a fraud or whatever creative name was used on Shekel in the past. Mobius, you’re right. I should have not “insulted” Shred but I am a critic by profession. So I critiqued someone’s music. You can be a critic of someone’s music but not their very being. I met Shred a long time ago. He may not remember (JCC Battle of the Bands) and he was a great guy. I would never want to discourage him from being a rapper or Jewish, for that matter. I hope he gets signed to a major label and plays MSG. Honest. Maybe I’ll buy a ticket or maybe I won’t. Right now, I won’t.
    The apology left at the end is very commendable but I wonder if we were looking for something to belittle and wasted our time and effort. Why inject so much negativity in the world? I wonder if Contry Yossi has started out today, would we have bashed him as well for covering songs and changing the lyrics. And btw, Yossi also wrote original compostions and took his career seriously. He was entertaining people, making them laugh, doing something so unoffensive that you couldn’t help but give him the thumbs up. Have we become so cynical and sarcastic that we can no longer be that forgiving?
    Okay. I think I’m done here. Thanks to everyone here for listening. I appreciate the debate and discussion. I’m hoping in the future we could be a bit less verbally-violent. I don’t think my theory is stupid, ignorant or naive. No one holds a gun to most people’s heads but we do make decisions based on outside influences. Saying otherwise is naive (I dont use words like “stupid” and “ignorant” with strangers). You remember peer pressue, don’t you Jack?
    Oh and if this is a publicity stunt, then whoa. This kid is good.
    Peace. I’m out.

  11. One more thing: what I write on Bangitout is my own opinion. I do not want you all thinking that the owners and staff of Bangitout agree and stand behind my opinions. While, they are close friends of mine and have their own perspectives, I don’t necessarily reflect eveyone involved. but that’s what makes our camaraderie so strong- we respect each other’s differences.

  12. Forgive me, Arye, if I find your remarks here a bit patronizing. It is true that I don’t recall meeting you at the JCC Battle of the Bands. Still, if you are truly a critic as you claim to be, then you would know better than to base your opinion of a band on a single song heard live in performance. You state in your Bang it Out post that you’ve heard our album (which one, you don’t say), but your criticism does not contain any evidence specific to our music that supports your harsh opinion. That said, it’s not like I’d expect a critic who would post a favorable review of Mandy Moore’s album to know the first thing about rap music, but if you’re gonna publish an opinion for people to read, you do have a responsibility as a journalist to make it an informed opinion, homie.
    If you want to say something about the quality of Regenerated Headpiece’s music, I encourage you to do so in the form of a legitimate review. Otherwise, I encourage you to shut the fuck up.

  13. “Read the personal story about how God used Mel Gibson’s, The Passion to show 50 Shekel the arm of His salvation.”
    I had never heard of this guy before, but he’s obviously some sort of nutcase.
    Mobius, I wouldn’t take this too hard. The stability of Shekl’s sense of identity is more than a bit suspect if a Mel Gibson movie could cause such a dramatic restructuring of his beliefs. I would suggest that it’s your own narcissism, more than any ownership of real personal fault that has resulted in any remorse you might feel over this person’s bizarre transformation. However, it’s narcissistic personalities that makes for successful blogs (LGF’s Charles Johnson comes to mind) and novelty acts…so guys…please don’t change a thing.

  14. Shred. Ease up, man.
    A; I have your album. You gave it to me. And yes, I’ve listened to it. A few times. Honest.
    B; Mandy Moore is good for what she does. I judge each album and band based on the category they fit in. I wouldn’t approach a Moore record and hold it up against, let’s say, the Velvet Underground. They’re called “genres.” And I stand by that review still.
    C. I am pretty well versed in hip-hop. I am no expert but I can hold my own. BTW, the new Common album is pretty great. You should buy it.

  15. The stability of Shekl’s sense of identity is more than a bit suspect if a Mel Gibson movie could cause such a dramatic restructuring of his beliefs.
    It’s just all too familiar.

  16. “I hate to say it but it’s actually our fault. 50 Shekel, the parody hip-hop artist that rose from obscurity to some form of fame (at least, within the Jewish community) has turned to Jews For Jesus and we pretty much led him there.”
    “The DVD was there. I picked it up. That was a big step. I turned it over to begin reading. That was even a bigger step. Was anybody looking? I was in my black Gianfranco Ferre Shabbos suit. Nah, no Jews here, they’re all eating gefilte fish and horseradish..”
    “The DVDs were in da bag. Mission accomplished, but I wasn’t up to the “get away” part just yet. I still had to pass through the Judaism jungle of NYC.”
    “…so many Rabbis, teachers and elders that have passed through my life, trying to make me feel like a worthless and lowly Jew, just because I was never a “good enough Jew” in their eyes. Apparently, they aren’t God. He is The Ultimate Judge. Now I know that and all I can do is show continuous love to people like that who are trapped in the Judaism game. Judaism is not Jewish.”
    “The top Pharisee looks almost exactly like the Rabbi I swore to never deal with in NYC. To make a long story short, he was trying to make me become Orthodox. His wife cooks well, so I have to hand it to her and the kids are nice. But The Rabbi, at times I still think he meant well, but now that I know The Truth, I realize he was scheming.”
    “I love being a Jew. Thank you Mel Gibson.”
    Read the whole thing…
    This boy is a self-hating, extremist lunatic…I think any criticism of his “mc-ing” is completely irrelevant. He hated himself because he was never a “good enough” Jew. That is, he hated himself because of his Jewishness…because he is Jewish. Rather than finding comfort in *some* healthy expression of Judaism, he decided to kill himself. When that proved to be too difficult, he found another way to end his Jewish life (with all the benefits of staying alive). The real question is, considering the alternative: is this story a tragedy?

  17. Also, I’d just like to throw in that his website links to a Chick tract which alleges that the Vatican is behind Nazism, Communism, the Illuminati, etc. etc. Just so we know what kind of ideas we’re on the edge of engaging.

  18. My spamblock word is consider, so consider this:
    This whole conversation is rediculous. The kid made a choice, he may be crazy, he may be sane, but the choice was his and none of you had an influence. Go to his site and inform yourself, if you still have issues, ask him, otherwise this just personal guff between heeb’s, no offense intended.
    Read from his site:I remember hearing them discuss Hitler, Ha Satan, Bin Laden, Arafat and so on…evil characters and spirits. So I brought up Jesus. “So what’s up with Jesus?” The Rabbi’s response, “50 Shekel, do not ever mention that name again!” I could see the other young Jewish guys go silent. To this day, I truly wonder if some of those guys were wondering about Jesus, just like I was, but didn’t have enough matzoh balls to ask. Who is this Jesus guy? What’s his spiel? It’s rather odd that we can talk about Hitler, Satan, Arafat, Bin Laden at the Torah table and discuss it all with ease, but when I mentioned Jesus, it was like mentioning an evil beyond evil…more evil than Hitler, Satan, Arafat, Bin Laden combined. But wait, I know some cool Christians in LA. They’re nice people. They read The Bible each day and have weekly Bible studies. Go to church each Sunday and sings nice songs to God. What’s the spiel? Jesus can’t be that bad? I thought Jesus was about love. I would soon find out “He” was more than just a nice guy about love…He was and Is The Jewish Messiah…Moshiach! I can recall the Rabbi at one Shabbat dinner pounding his hands on the table in front of twenty young impressionable Jewish peeps like me, spirit fully saying, “We want Moshiach now!” If I knew then what I knew now, I would have said, “Rabbi, you want Moshiach? You got Him! Yeshua Ha’Mashiach! Jesus Christ. There you go. Your prayers have been answered. Mazel Tov! Let’s eat!!!!”You see, he had questions. May be this doesn’t mean shit to you, Mo1, but the answers weren’t out there for him so he turned to a place where he thought he could find them, and he found solice there, he found what he thinks is truth.
    Albeit, not a widely accepted area for most jews, not the most popular decision amongst ya’ll; “that the word might be filled which was written in their Torah, ‘They hated me without a cause”. As a former Christian I understand why he finds comfort in the arms of such a controversial bride, but I do not feel personally towards his dilemma. If you want to blame yourself for the personal decisions of one jew for jesus or whatever he fuck it is, then you’re an idiot.

  19. How come who attempt to kill themselves or blow their mind out on drugs always turn to Jes-s?? My brother who is a paramedic here in Brooklyn used to work Sunset Park area, and encounter all kinds of addicts, bums, etc. His main piece of advice find Jes-s

  20. just for the record, i don’t believe i, or jewschool, had anything to do with shekel’s conversion. but i believe that arye raised a fair point about what such derision (losh hara — the evil tounge) can lead to, and in that sense i saw this as an opportunity for reflection on that point. as i stated quite clearly, shekel is responsible for his own decisions, and we can hardly be held accountable for being critical wiseasses. we can, however, hold ourselves accountable for saying hurtful or demeaning things, and in that sense, believing in the power of speech, it’d be preferable to not serve as even a possible source of feelings from which individuals like shekel are driven to act.
    that’s all.

  21. It’s too true, mo. Rip out the tongue and be cleansed.
    and DiGiTaL, Christianity is the first church of the disfunctional. Most of the people in the church I went to were serious ex-drug addicts and criminals types turned right-wing christian, hahaha, what a nightmare. It’s because of the whole born again thing, be redeemed of all your sins and such, very appealling to a lost soul in search of the light. It’s instant gratification for the weak.

  22. Sticks & stones, Mobius. The adage held true when you were 8 years old and it still holds true today.

  23. As ridiculous as it sounds, lets assume that Jewschool actually had something to do with shekel’s conversion. If we did it once, I am sure, if we try hard enough, we could do it again. So, can I please post a short list of some other Jews that I would like for us to force to the dark side?

  24. There’s one thing I still don’t get…
    Why is criticizing a lame rapper loshn hara, but calling Israel an apartheid state a way of ‘creating dialogue’ (or something)?

  25. a) lashon hara is directed towards individuals
    b) lashon hara is not with the intent to reform, change, inspire, or help. it is simply in the interest of demeaning.

  26. It seems that 50 only has props to give to the UWS Chevrey(do i hear a choir album in the future?) and not blame.
    Other than that all one can say is, poor guy….
    Its really sad such a maleable boy got mixed up without proper support. He possibly was looking for a more answers than the UWS enclave could provide(with all due respect to the UWS chevrey), it seems he needed some R. Amnon Yitzchak with a dose of Hamin once a week.

  27. I don’t think my theory is stupid, ignorant or naive. No one holds a gun to most people’s heads but we do make decisions based on outside influences. Saying otherwise is naive (I dont use words like “stupid” and “ignorant” with strangers). You remember peer pressue, don’t you Jack?
    I get a little bit aggressive when it comes to J4Js and missionaries, so allow me to apologize for using words like stupid and ignorant. The point of the comment really was not intended to slam you, but to say let us take a harder look at responsibility here.
    Peer pressure is not something that I relate to well because it is not something that made me do anything. As a little boy I learned that I was responsible for my own actions. That is not meant to be patronizing, but it is the reality for me. I don’t make excuses like I got drunk because every one else did. I don’t have stories of badgering my parents to buy certain shoes or clothes because I wanted to look like a clone of the people around me.
    The thing that really bothers me here is the suggestion that anyone else is responsible for his actions other than him. No one made him do anything. He chose his profession. He put himself in a position in which he would be criticized and critiqued. If it was too hot in the kitchen he should have quit.
    The bottom line is that he made his bed, no one forced him to do anything and claiming peer pressure is the reason is just a sad way of trying to let him off of the hook for his decision.’
    BTW, last f the Jewish N’s. I have a very thick skin and a twisted sense of humor but you have a very offensive handle there. You may not care, but FWIW, there it is.

  28. Yeeeeessssss!
    We got another “Jew for Jesus” , and this is only fitting as the historical Jesus was a Jew.
    The dude’s shirt is cheesy, with the peanut butter cup motif.
    Well good riddens to the guy–the “Christians” have his soul
    Let’s just hope that the guy isn’t looking down on us from the Christian heaven taunting us with “I told you so..”
    Indeed, it is bad form to claim that other people forced him away from Judeaism. Wacked and tacky.
    He is playing-up this ‘conversion’, I wouldn’t loosing any sleep over it.

  29. Cat Stevens is a noble soul, a lover of peace, and an intelligent human being–spiritually, menatlly, and emotionally.
    More than I can say for most people who have enjoyed wealth and fame.
    And given the history of Chrisitan peoples, it’s pure ignorance to ascribe to Islamic/Muslim people to be innately lower than any other world culture/religion.
    There are too few people that endeavor not to be hypocrites, who live life as peaceful beings.
    And by the way, his name is not Cat Stevens (anymore); it is Yusuf Islam.

  30. moby quote: “a) lashon hara is directed towards individuals”
    -The Jews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years becasue they spoke lashon hara on Israel.
    To all,
    I was at the israel day parade and guess who was there talking to uneducated Jews?!
    you got it J4J.
    The question I pose to all of you is how can it be that they are successful?

  31. I guess my question is:
    How can J4J who are so abviously wrong be successful in getting anyone?
    I know we are angry but we have to address this issue.

  32. “The Jews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years becasue they spoke lashon hara on Israel.”
    er, well that’s one interpretation. not the one i hold by, but your entitled to your opinion.

  33. “er, well that’s one interpretation. not the one i hold by, but your entitled to your opinion.”
    — Oh brother… [Numbers 14,36] And the men, whom Moses sent to spy out the land, and who, when they returned, made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land, 14,37 even those men that did bring up an evil report of the land, died by the plague before the LORD.”
    -They spoke against the land and caused the people to not want to go there and be a part of it.
    In either case much more important than this is for us to think of the problem and what we should do about J4J.
    We really need to take action. Any ideas?
    Good Shabbos all.

  34. schmo, you said lashon hara is the reason we wandered in the desert for 40 years. your proof text only demonstrates that the people who spoke ‘lashon hara’ against the inhabitability of israel were killed. my understanding is that the jews were left to wander for 40 years to allow a new generation to rise up, free from the slave mentality ingrained in egypt.

  35. Ummm, am I missing something? What is the bridge between ridicule of someone’s act and leaving Judaism. Shouldn’t he have just quit rapping and become a jeweler? This whole thing smacks of publicity stunt even though it’s probably not.

  36. i just wanted to add a note, cuz i’ve just deleted some comments:
    i’m not under any obligation to provide a forum for people to bash me and this project. if you don’t like what we have to say, don’t read our site. but please don’t expect me to let you curse me out or demean this project when you’re using my software, my webserver, and my bandwidth.
    further, there is no comparison between banning people for talking endless trash, and banning someone for expressing a political opinion i differ from. in that sense, we are nothing like lgf, nor i like charles johnson, thanks muchly.

  37. “further, there is no comparison between banning people for talking endless trash, and banning someone for expressing a political opinion i differ from. in that sense, we are nothing like lgf, nor i like charles johnson, thanks muchly.”
    That’s almost exactly what Charles Johnson told me!
    (One man’s trash is another person’s dissenting political position afterall…)

  38. The only person responsible for his actions was/is Mr Shekel himself.
    He came along proclaiming himself great and failed to deliver the goods, so he packs up and finds another way to try and make a comeback.
    If he isn’t doing it for publicity and is sincere, why is he still using the name 50 Shekel. Couldn’t he do a Cat Stevens and adopt a new name?
    Call me cynical, but Mr Cohen has been trying to manipulate the media for ages and this is a great way for him to gain more publicity.
    If he has gone to the J4J side, then finally, Etan G can do battle with him in the crap rappers arena.
    Now that would be cool, Etan G verus 50 Shekel.
    Maybe not 🙂

  39. “schmo, you said lashon hara is the reason we wandered in the desert for 40 years. your proof text only demonstrates that the people who spoke ‘lashon hara’ against the inhabitability of israel were killed. my understanding is that the jews were left to wander for 40 years to allow a new generation to rise up, free from the slave mentality ingrained in egypt.”
    –True – but what was the straw that broke the camels back?
    It was their fear and lack of faith of G-d ability to bring them into the land – the acceptance of the lashon hara was the last and final straw of many things.
    I can say that their complaints for quail caused them to wander.
    I can say the complaints about water.
    All these things I can fairly say casued it.
    Nobody means to say that it was only that.

  40. Yo! This is horrible.
    I just emailed 50 Shekel with the following message below.
    I implore every sensitive & serious Jew to contact 50 Shekel on his web page, and reach out to him. The Messianics win people over by loving them. I know, as I was ONE OF THEM for 6 years!
    We, as Jews who love Hashem, Torah & Mitzvot should be doing no less.
    This talented young Jew is now caught in the clutches of the missionaries. Frum Jews, especially those in their 20’s, reach out to him with open arms. Don’t diss him. The missionaries have already prepared him for the onslaught of hate mail from “those Pharisees”.
    This is serious shit, my friends. Let’s see if we can win him back.
    _______________________ _______________________ __________________
    Dude, you are making a HUGE freaking mistake. I spent SIX long emotionally manipulating years in the messianic Jewish movement. I was training to become a messianic Rabbi via the UMJC. I was very close with many of the staff members at the Jews for Jesus headquarters on East 31st Street, as well as Chosen People Ministries, especially Mitch Glazer.
    I’m not writing you to attack you, brother, but to reach out to a fellow musically-inclined Jew who is falling for the same line of shit I fell for in 1995.
    Listen to me, Yeshua was not the Messiah. That’s the bottom line. It matters not how some asswipe Orthodox Jews made you feel. I just got that treatment last week from the Dean of one of the most right-wing Yeshivas in Queens, The guy tried to get me taken off the program for a PTA supperette. He felt the word “DJ” wasn’t acceptable in the frum market. I felt down in the dumps. But the Rabbi I study with, as well as the Chasidic literature & music I have, made me realize that that guy was a jerkoff, and has nothing to do with Hashem, Torah & Judaism.
    Check out my website at http://www.angelfire.com/thefo rce/oneishashem
    I would love to meet with you one-on-one if you’re up to it. The path you are choosing is spiritual suicide for your neshama, my friend. One one funky Jew to another, get away while you can!

  41. i have to admit, i guess i have been pretty harsh. here’s the lede i wrote for the article we were going to run on shek’s conversion in october:
    29 year-old Israeli-American Aviad Cohen, otherwise known as the one-hit wonder Jewish hip hop novelty act 50 Shekel, appeared on the scene in the Summer of 2003 to the groans and guffaws of a Jewish generation. An archetypal model of “Jewsploitation,”—the much-touted Jewish hipster phenomenon which cultural critic Douglas Rushkoff refers to as the appropriation of imagery and “cool” from black culture by Jews who “don’t feel cool themselves”—Cohen’s act is, at best, a disgraceful joke, offensive to both blacks and Jews with any sort of cultural sensitivity, let alone musical taste. Sadly, being that such taste and sensitivity aren’t things you can count on most suburban teenage Jews for, Cohen of course enjoyed overnight success.
    With his debut parody of rapper 50 Cent’s (“50 Cent, 50 Shekel! Get it? Get it?!” Ugh!) popular “In Da Club” quickly making its way around the Internet, Cohen found himself in a position that more talented and deserving artists would have killed to be in. And while those who encountered his sheer ridiculousness did what any logical person would’ve done and dismissed him as a joke, no one could’ve expected how much attention the press would soon pay him, nor how seriously the guy actually took himself.
    Disingenuously presenting himself as a role-model for Jewish children everywhere, the Tel Aviv-born Brooklynite (by way of Teaneck) graced the pages of countless Jewish and secular publications, from The Forward to The Washington Post, proclaiming his pride as a Jew, his interest in pursuing Torah, and his quest for a nice Jewish girl, while referring to his fellow Jews as “yiddas” (a reworking of the racial epithet cum term of endearment “niggas”) and making cracks about just “Jewing it” and “keeping it kosher” (as opposed to “real”). Shekel’s career climaxed in December of last year when, counted amongst the so-called “New Super Jews” along with Heeb magazine, The Hebrew Hammer, and He’brew beer, Cohen was crowned king of Jewish hip hop by Time Out magazine.
    Joined by his crew “The Jew Unit” (that too a play on 50 Cent’s crew, The G Unit) Cohen then took to the stage playing local clubs, Jewish events, college campuses, charity fundraisers, and, of course, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, while feigning street cred by posting pictures of himself with black friends to his website. He has since continued his media blitz, hyping up his long overdue LP Enter The Spiel (taken from Enter The Wu-Tang), while modeling wares for $40-a-stinkin’-t-shirt Judeo-hipster fashion label Chosen Couture.
    Ah yes, 50 Shekel. An inspiration! It’s for the children! Well wait ‘til the children get a load of this. We gather it’s something like the feeling a goyishe child endures when they find out Santa Claus isn’t real.

  42. Man, you guys really hate us, huh? So you fervently stick to your guns attacking the Ju-Tang Clan, but you renege on 50 Shekel bashing because you think it might have contributed to his current lunacy? If Ju-Tang all went nuts and tried to kill ourselves, would you then start being nicer to us?
    The tone of your piece changes radically as one continues reading. The place that you and I agree is at the top: if you’re not prepared to battle, don’t step in the ring. It’s funny that you think we’ve built our “act” on 50 shekel bashing, seeing as how 50 shekel didn’t even enter the scene until year 5 or 6 of our currently 8 year career. We put out one song about him, because he made comments that pissed us off. How does putting out one song turn into “built an entire act”? We have a whole album out, and we just recorded a new EP which will be released in about a month. None of that has anything to do with 50 shekel.
    Also, if you’re going to bash us, you could at least spend the time to get your facts right. Our parody of In Da Club is called In Da Klan and has nothing to do with 50 Shekel, except that he’s apparently a self-hating Jew as well. Our diss track is a composite of several different instrumentals.
    I’m not trying to hijack this thread – I realize that the focus is on 50 Shekel’s deteriorating mental state here, and yes – it is sad. But just because he’s gone nutty doesn’t mean that I regret, in any way shape or form, making a diss track about him. The fact that he’s mentally unstable is not a free pass for him to say whatever he wants with no consequences. I apologize for nothing. We made a damn funny diss track about a crappy rapper. Simple as that. Yes it’s hugely offensive in many different ways – if you haven’t noticed, we tend to like being that way.
    Seriously, though – you’re passive-aggressively accusing us of making 50 shekel attempt suicide. That’s insane. I’m not even going to go into the implications you are making here supporting the slippery slope of censorship and regulated creativity. It’s a diss track. It’s a well-established institution in the world of hip-hop. You don’t like the track? That’s fine. But honestly, you’re looking for a scapegoat here. I’m surprised you give us enough credit to have any influence on *anyone*!
    Watch out for the new Ju-Tang Clan EP entitled “Post 9-Unleavened”. I think it’ll surprise you.

  43. sorry, the song was called “schindler’s fist” (so creative, you had to rip off orgazmo).
    you’ll have a hard time proving 8 years in the game to me considering your domain was registered in december of 2003 and the earliest mention of you anywhere on the web is on jewschool last year.
    further, i don’t think you influenced him to attempt suicide. i simply said we never stooped as low as suggesting he should — especially in a song. and if dissing 50 shekel isn’t so integral to your act, why has your 50 shekel dis track been on your homepage for over a year? which is not to scapegoat you at all. just to point out that there were much harsher things put out there than anything offered on jewschool.
    finally, you are, indeed, as whack as he is, if not more whack. just so you know.

  44. Well, first of all, our entire career IS based on ripping things off, so I don’t know why you would think a diss track would be any different.
    Yeah, the internet isn’t really the end-all of history. I have battle of the bands shirts from ’97 with the name Ju-Tang Clan on them, would that satisfy you? We were a totally unknown local act for a long time before we became a totally unknown national act.
    The 50 Shekel diss track has been on our homepage since we recorded it because it’s one of the newest things we’ve recorded, period. Our new stuff always goes to the top. If you’d like to accuse us of not being incredibly fast with getting something new out, that’s perfectly valid. We’ll fix that soon anyway.
    If you’re not accusing us of influencing him to attempt suicide, then I’ll apologize for interpreting it that way. I’ll agree that we were harsher than you were.
    Thanks for the opinion on our whackness. If you stack up our songs with 50 shekel’s side by side, that is a fairly insane thing to say, but I’m obviously not going to change your view. I don’t know where all your dislike for us comes from really, and that’s the truth. If you could tell me, I’d honestly appreciate it.
    If it makes you feel better to claim that we are “worse” Jews than most, by all means, please do so. Also, watch for a review of our new EP coming up in the Jerusalem Post.

  45. I don’t blame 50 Shekel for doing what he does. In fact, I don’t see that many other Jewish artists embracing the Tanach in a phat way like he does. As far as Ju-Tang Clan, Heeb, Jewcy and JDate and the likes…these are prime examples of how we’ve just gone wrong. Perhaps we need to fix things. What’s the deal with Jesus? From the sounds of 50 Shekel’s new music and site, it doesn’t seem like Jesus has done him much wrong. His site seems more kosher than Heeb’s horseradish/coke cuttin on a mirror photo on their latest magazine. Duh…

  46. jenny — you’re a fronting jew for jesus aren’t you?
    gold’s, by the way, loved the horseradish bit and is taking out an ad in the next issue of heeb.

  47. da ju-tang sham is fakakta…embarassing to Jews. i’d rather by some fitty shek christian album. i’d more edible than da jutang poison.

  48. In response to the above questions on how the messianic movement can be successful–
    I work at Jews for Judaism, which is the only counter-missionary and cult organization devoted to educating Jews on the threat posed by these efforts. We’ve known about 50 Shekel for a couple of months now, and I posted once it was confirmed beyond a doubt through the renovation of his website (yes, arye, I could have been a little nicer. sorry. and how can you possibly say woody allen isn’t a snarky bastard? anyway). All this said, my comments below are not necessarily the official position of Jews for Judaism.
    Hebrew-Christian organizations “get” Jews because the Jewish community isn’t doing a good enough job in providing both Judaism and community. Missionaries know how to talk about spirituality and God, while we in the Jewish community are often very uptight and insecure about such things. This goes for all denominations, by the way. i recall being told that God does not love humanity in an Orthodox high school–b/c love is an emotion, and thus a physical limitation, and God is not physical. This is not the type of meaningful, deep connection to something outside themselves that people are searching for. Without some substance and depth to our Judaism, we have no continuity. Hebrew Christians are effective because they’re not afraid to talk about their beliefs, and this provides security and comfort to some people. They also mask Christianity through Judaism, claiming that believing in Jesus “fulfills” Judaism, and also insures that people don’t have to convert to another religion to believe in “Yeshua HaMashiach.” Even if some of us may not personally believe in a messiah incarnate or consider this to be a priority in Judaism, we often have no idea what the Jewish concept of the messiah actually is. Ask most Jews in the US today to word-associate “messiah,” and you’ll get “savior, redeemer,” both Christian concepts that have nothing to do with the anointed, human leader that is the Jewish messiah, who has to fulfill very specific criteria in order to be accepted. See http://www.jewsforjudaism.org for more on this. So we’ve left it to the missionaries to know our book and our prophecies, and use them against us since we’ve distanced ourselves from our primary texts. What does Isiah 7:14 mean to you? A missionary knows this–you should, and how to put it in context and respond to it. Not simply as a defensive measure, but to be educated in the source material for your own religion. Second, community. Missionaries are “love-bombing” Jews lacking support into joining their ranks–classic cult tactics that too often prove to be successful. Uneducated Jews in vulnerable positions are pay dirt for missionaries–who will stop at almost nothing to target them, as they see this as their mission from God. And yet, our community is so fractured and reeking of lashon hora and cross-denominational hatred that we can’t seem to get a grip on bringing people in the way we should. Messianics provide community for seekers who feel rejected or alienated from the Jewish community. 50 Shekel felt alienated from Judaism because his Orthodox hosts didn’t respect the legitimacy of other denominations within Judaism, and instead saw him merely as a kiruv target–so he left all legitimate forms of Judaism to find God. Great. It’s called pluralism and respect, people. His hosts also perpetuated a lack of education about Christianity, making it into so much more of a threat than it actually poses to the strength of Jewish doctrine. This experience was, for 50 Shekel, a microcosm of why Hebrew-Christian organizations are successful. Basically, they have benefitted from the two basic problems with the Jewish community today–lack of education and lack of cohesion, and have manipulated the fallout of these phenomena marvelously. If there’s any doubt about the manipulation going on here, by the way, check out the Jews for Jesus website–the one for “believers.” They distribute a video called “Survivor Stories,” testimony of Holocaust survivors who “found Jesus,” for use in nursing homes and retirement facilities. Pretty sick stuff. Also, check out the video for their “Behold Your God” campaign–coming to a Jewish city near you, with the express purpose of infiltrating Jewish communities on nearly every societal level to convert Jews.
    So do your part–get educated, and invite somebody new to your community over for Friday night dinner. It’ll make a difference.

  49. Basically Dede, You are saying what we as a community need is Ahavat Chinam for ourselves, our own people. To love all affiliated jews regardless of our sect (as long as we believe in the basic tenants of our religion).
    We are in galut because of Sinat Chinam, the redemption can only come through a rectification of such through AHAVAT CHINAM.
    Please get this message out.

  50. I noticed recently that 50 Shek wrote a letter back to Bangitout.com. They posted it at the bottom of Mr. Dworken’s article. (unclear if it was meant for a broad audience)
    Take a look: here are some of Shek’s highlights – my own comments are in paranthesis…sufice it to say: this guy has completely lost his mind.
    – “Now that I came to faith…it all makes sense. The least likely place I thought I would ever find Elokim’s Truth was in da church.”
    – “Stop hatin n start paticipatin :)” (lines like this make me proud that got a good can of jewschool whoopass, ha)
    – “Think outside the teffilin box.” (haha, this was a good line! Go yuska)
    – “There might be more to this “Jesus” thing than you think. Ask Elokim, He’ll show you. Feel free to contact me” (say shalom to complete mental illness)
    – . I’m not about to go risk it all and put something out there that would be bad for people. You know me…the world’s most kosher mc and I’m gonna keep it that way.” (Earth to 50 Shek: jesus aint kosher. This is ‘Bad for people’, specifically the young kids you rapped positive orthodox judaism to. Buddy, theres really only one thing you can do to make yourself officially “not kosher” and youve hit the bullseye on that one. So your not the worlds “kosher” MC anymore and you’ve got a responsibility to be clear to your fans about that. – Please please do us all a favor and ‘don’t keep it that way.’)

  51. I can’t believe 50 sell-out. I emailed him link that basically says why the Jews have not and will not ever believe in Jesus. http://www.simpletoremember.co
    I hope he reads it. It really shows where he was holding. The guy isn’t to bright. He mentioned on his website that he say Gibson’s movie and his world changed. What kind of person changes his whole life and believes in Jesus after a movie??
    I really like this bit from the Ramban:
    The most famous of all Jewish-Christian disputations was between the apostate Jew Pablo Christiani and Moses Nachmanides (the Ramban).
    Nachmanides argued that the central issue separating Christianity and Judaism was not the issue of Jesus’ messiahship, but whether or not Jesus was divine. There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, for believing in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man. To Nachmanides, it seemed most strange “that the Creator of heaven and earth resorted to the womb of a certain Jewess and grew there for nine months and was born as an infant, and afterwards grew up and was betrayed into the hands of his enemies who sentenced him to death and executed him, and that afterwards… he came to life and returned to his original place. The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannot tolerate this.” Nachmanides told the Spanish monarch, “You have listened all your life to priests who have filled your brain and the marrow of your bones with this doctrine, and it has settled with you because of that accustomed habit.” Had King James heard these ideas propounded for the fist time when he was already an adult, Nachmanides implied, he never would have accepted them.

  52. The above post was placed here by a missionary.
    The link leads you to a retarded Sid Roth-produced video.
    Sid Roth is a wacked out pentecostal Hebrew-Christian, who teaches heavily about out-of-body experiences and demons possessing people.
    If any of my Jew peeps need advice or guidance in regards to who is who in the Hebrew-Christian movement, it would be my pleasure to lay out the players for you.
    I was one of them for six years. I know how they think. I know how they act. I know how they behave.
    They are like the pod-people from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. They look and sound like real Jews, but on the inside they are rotten to the core with a theology that’s most definitely NOT from Hashem’s Torah. Their main objective in life is to get us Jews to believe in Yushke, and to become one of them.
    50 Shekel is a huge win for them psychologically, even though both his old (In Da Shul) and his new (as in Testament) really do suck more than a $2 hooker on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

  53. Hasn’t this punk ever heard of a pilpul? Jews don’t run and hide, we stay and argue. As a Queer Jew, I have to do a lot of it, but the last thing I’m gonna do is run crying to the cult of yoshka.
    Worse than losing your Yiddishkeit is losing your chutzpah, and NOTHING is less chutzpadik than a xtian.

  54. JEWS ARE TO CHRISTENS AS BLACK ARE TO WHITES nether group is bad well not any more but still how can a jew[yes he’s still a jew ucant stop being a jew any mor than u can sto being italion or mexican] join the group that hase been persequting us for almost there entire existance so all i have to say about 50 is SELL OUT!!!!!!!!

  55. Perhaps the only thing driving Aviad to Yeshua is the truth. As we all know MCing is a critical profession. So I’m sure he was used to it. You give yourself more credit than you deserve, saying that “we drove him to it”. It seems his enlightenment came from reading Torah. Maybe ya’ll should try it sometime…..

  56. slim, show me somewhere in the torah where moshiach is mentioned once.
    oh, wait…he isn’t. moshaich isn’t in the torah. moshiach is in the prophets. and in the prophets it says, moshiach must gather in the exiles from the four corners of the earth. jesus doesn’t gather them in. if we are to believe the new testament, jesus is the reason we’re exiled by the romans and dispersed to the four corners of the earth. ie., he’s the counter-moshiach.

  57. They are like the pod-people from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. They look and sound like real Jews, but on the inside they are rotten to the core with a theology that’s most definitely NOT from Hashem’s Torah.
    and this chap says:
    and his new (as in Testament) really do suck more than a $2 hooker on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
    and he says that 50 shekels and all messainic jews are rotten to the core. give me a break !!!. how does he know about the prostitutes in that avenue, and their prices? give me a break!!!
    hashem torah?, do you mean ultra orthodox, talmud reader, i’m better than you christian sc*m!! type, middle ages “scholar”. you are confusing yourself and many more.
    where in the scriptures says that moshiach will gather the jews from the four corners of the earth?. i will show you ( if you drop me an email) that some jews will be present in israel when moshiach returns.

  58. True Jew
    May I point out it was those American Christians 18-19 years of age that fought across Europe are also the ones that liberated the death camps in 45′. To lump people into ethnic groups is racist and no different than the NAZI’s or what we see happening in the middle-east Islamic world treating people of other faiths and cultures.
    Having a Jew suddenly convert to Christianity, or a Gentile go through the full conversion to Judaism isn’t so much of an issue, as to something fair greater that I have seen done as a great disservice to both communities.
    There has been a great movement within the gentile world to search out their early Jewish roots, and rejecting the age-old manmade dogma, pagan influence. Trying to interrupt historically what the Nazarene sect in roman history was, what was lost by Constantine’s roman pagan empire, what was the background of this sect during the periods of the Temple destruction and Bar Kokba rebellion. Proto-Talmudic traditions of the first century, Esenes and the Dead Sea scrolls including the influence of Enoch writings.
    Unfortunately, neither community will benefit from such groups as MJAA, nor UMJC, since neither of these groups are willing to deal with core issues, approach them with proper respect and knowledge, and only wish to convert as its some sort of cosmic LasVegas exercise who can win the most souls.
    As far as the issue of one’s faith well that’s up to the individual as it should. Its Un-American to attack one for that, you can disagree. But the complaints I see within this post reflect more of concern community and culture and those have always been viable arguments for every generation. It’s how one addresses these issues and shows proper wisdom and leadership. Unfortunately in the ever-faster world of technology, the normal amount of years that are required for wisdom and leadership seem to be falling behind.

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