Web War Ensnares Jew for Jesus Rapper

By E.B. Solomont

Published December 02, 2005, issue of December 02, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

When a messianic Jewish Web site was launched this week using the logo and format of a popular Jewish blog, suspicious eyes turned to rapper-provocateur 50 Shekel, a onetime Orthodox Jew who a few months ago emerged as a Jew for Jesus.

The rapper, who now prefers to use his given name, Aviad Cohen, was quick to distance himself from the site, which is called TrueJewschool.com and originally employed an embellished version of the logo used by Jewschool.com. Corroborating his story was Dixie Lawrence, a member of a Louisiana messianic group in whose name the new site was registered. Lawrence told the Forward that she began the site for her group’s use, and had asked a local teenager to create a logo — which was initially little more than the Jewschool logo with the word “true” stamped above it. She said she changed the logo once it was brought to her attention that it had been lifted.

But Jewschool editor-in-chief Daniel Sieradski is having none of it. Sieradski, who goes by the online moniker Mobius, posted a lengthy essay on Jewschool in which he accused the rapper of being the force behind the new site. He later told the Forward that TrueJewschool seemed to him to be the product of a personal vendetta. “He had a friend launch TrueJewschool, duplicating our logo, overall look and feel to imply Jews for Jesus is true Judaism and we at Jewschool are practicing false Judaism.”

Jewschool and Cohen have been trading barbs for some time.

After the rapper’s breakout hit,” In da Shul” (a spoof of rapper 50 Cent’s “In da Club”), Jewschool was consistent in its criticism of the rapper’s music and the way that mainstream Jewish culture had embraced him. The rapper, in turn, responded with criticisms of the blog. Tensions rose further still in June when Heeb magazine music critic Arye Dworkin, writing on the bangitout.com Web site, argued that criticism from some in the Jewish world had left the rapper susceptible to overtures from Jews for Jesus. (Online and in a conversation with the Forward, Jewschool’s editor said he was sorry if this was the case.)

Though he denied having ties to TrueJewschool both in a Jewschool post and in a subsequent e-mail to the Forward, Cohen also wrote: “I don’t operate it, but I surely appreciate the healthy approach they have to keeping it true Jew, unlike JewSchool.com, which has a bunch of hate-fueled propaganda on their Web site attacking anybody that is not a fanatical Orthodox Jew.”

Meanwhile, Sieradski said the latest flap would be his last war of words with Cohen. He has vowed never to write about him again.

“Never ever?” a skeptical reporter asked.

“If I do, I’m playing right into his hands,” he said.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.