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Intelligencer: July 18-25

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Is Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’ a Tool to Convert Jews?
Nearly two years after it was labeled anti-Semitic (before it even came out), The Passion of the Christ might actually be converting Jews to Jesus. Take rapper 50 Shekel, who found notoriety with “In Da Shul,” a moderately clever parody of a 50 Cent hip-hop track (the Washington Post featured Shekel in a piece about being “Young, Jewish and . . . Cool”). He recently announced that he has found Jesus—inspired by the movie, which he calls “the most Jewish film ever made. They were calling Jesus ‘Yeshua’ . . . After seeing Mary sing ‘Ma nish-ta nah,’ I was like, ‘Oh, so this is the Messiah. It all makes sense now.’ ” Shekel, whose real name is Aviad Cohen, even renamed his album, from Get Righteous or Die Trying to For His Glory. Cohen’s Website now proselytizes for Jesus. Susan Perlman, associate executive director of Jews for Jesus, says Cohen’s not the only one to find Jesus via Mel Gibson’s film, which she considers a powerful tool to bring Jews to her faith. “Now that the movie is on DVD, more Jews are watching. I think a lot were afraid to go to the theater to see it.” Gibson’s publicist, Alan Nierob, had no comment on the DVD as conversion tool.
—Shana Liebman


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