Racy Pics Make Rapper Blush

By Jennifer Siegel

Published October 28, 2005, issue of October 28, 2005.
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For those who can’t decide which is more provocative — pornographic bible cartoons or a rapper who calls himself The Jewish Jesus Freak — a recent dustup may help lead to an answer.

50 Shekel — a former Orthodox Jew who announced in June that he had become a Jew for Jesus after, among other things, watching Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,”— has slammed hipster magazine Heeb for featuring racy drawings of the “ten sexiest scenes from the Bible” in its most recent issue.

Heeb’s pictorial, which is included the magazine’s fall 2005 “sex” issue, shows “dirty pictures from the Holy Scriptures” that graphically illuminate the fullest possible meaning of such biblical passages as, “King Solomon… gave the queen of Sheba everything she wanted and asked for.” The issue also includes an article about Israel’s only S&M club, a photo of D-lister Corey Feldman as a centerfold and an interview with comedian Sarah Silverman, who graces the cover holding up a white sheet that has a strategically placed hole.

On his Web Site earlier this week, 50 Shekel (né Aviad Cohen) asserted that “Heeb magazine is what happens when unsaved Jews aren’t saved.” He urged fans to register their outrage with stores that carry the magazine, including Barnes & Noble and Tower Records. Ingram, the country’s largest magazine distributor, already has insisted that all copies of the current issue be sealed in plastic before shipment to Barnes & Noble, according to the New York Post.

50 Shekel’s stage name is a takeoff on the hit rapper 50 Cent, whose 2003 song “In da Club” inspired Shekel’s first song, “In da Shul.” Heeb had promoted Cohen in its pages, but when the performer announced his love for Jesus, the magazine told the Forward, “This is indeed a sad day in the world of Jewish parody rap.”

Joshua Neuman, Heeb’s editor-in-chief, did not respond personally to the Forward’s request for comment on Heeb’s controversial pictorial, but he did respond by proxy.

“I find nothing wrong with it,” said his mother, Janet Neuman, who called the Forward at her son’s request. “I am giving my Jewish mother’s stamp of approval.”

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