Joshua Aaron, an Israeli Messianic artist, has made it to a list of a media group’s top 100 Jewish influencers from around the world – a rare addition of a Messianic in a diverse group of Israelis from pop culture and politics.
A new media group, Izzy: Stream Israel, released “The Global Jewish 100” last month. The list is a “celebration of people across the world who are moving Jewish culture forward.” Izzy, which plans to launch later this year, promotes itself as a “streaming service that offers a variety of premium TV shows, movies, documentaries, podcasts, broadcasts, and music from Israel.” Basically, an Israel-focused Netflix.
Aaron was in good company. Many notable names were on the list such as social media influencer Hananya Naftali, OurCrowd founder and CEO Jonathan Medved, Jewish National fund CEO Russell Robinson, popular chef Jamie Geller, Times of Israel founder David Horovitz, activist Rudy Rochman and a myriad of others ranging from social media influencers, to physiotherapists, athletes, award-winning chefs, musicians and fashion models.
Aaron, the Messianic American/Israeli singer, is well known among the Messianic Jewish and Hebrew roots Christian communities. He has won multiple independent music awards as well as reaching the #1 spot on iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon multiple times in the “World” music category. Aaron is very open about his belief that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, which fuels the message behind most of his music.
Most Jews around the world do not accept Messianics as “real Jews.” Even if a person is biologically Jewish, you will hear a dozen reasons why believing in Yeshua takes away your Jewishness. However, here we have a new up and coming media group putting together a glamorous list that most in the Jewish world would agree includes people moving the culture forward.
In some ways, Izzy itself is already moving the culture forward by openly acknowledging a successful Messianic Jew alongside 99 other Jews from different walks of life.
“Joshua [Aaron] represents one of a variety of ways people express their Judaism,” Izzy’s media director, Josh Hoffman, told Kehila News. “We believe the beauty of Judaism is that it can be expressed in a variety of ways, so long as it is not harmful to anyone or any group of people.”
When asked if Izzy had plans for hosting Messianic artists on their platform, Hoffman responded, “If there’s an interesting script or inspiring story about someone who considers himself or herself a Messianic Jew, within the context of Israel, I don’t see us having a problem exploring it. At the end of the day, we aim to portray the diversity of Israel across religion, culture, lifestyle, people, communities, and other aspects of society.”
Aaron said he was “surprised and honored.”
“It does show that people aren’t too bothered anymore [with Jewish Believers in Yeshua],” he said.
Aaron’s addition to the list didn’t go unnoticed. Several Jewish bloggers and social media users were quick to call out and criticize Izzy for openly adding a Messianic Jew to the list.
“In all good things you have lovers and haters,” said Aaron, who is no stranger to the criticism.
Overall, Aaron said he is most proud of the fact that he can be recognized as a normal person and a follower of Yeshua at the same time. If people can see that he is “in love with this country and in love with Yeshua,” that is the answer to what he’s hoped for.