Dear iTunes: Jews just don’t believe in Jesus that way.

Posted on August 24, 2009


Not being able to fall asleep tonight, I decided to load something onto my iPod and went indirectly to the Judaism section (right after downloading Car Talk) of iTunes.

I was very surprised to see near the top of the Featured “Judaism” podcasts, titles including “Messianic Shabbat: Torah teacher Mark McLellan” and “Messianic Jewish Teaching: Beth Israel Messianic Synagogue.”  Rounding out the top 12 was “Yeshua in Context: by Derek Leman (who claims to be a Messianic Rabbi and says “I believe that Judaism not centered on Yeshua (Jesus) is missing the life of the tree.”

Hold on.  By our definition of our own people and and by our tradition, this kind of content is not about being Jewish.  In fact, given the specific attempt by organizations such as the Southern Baptists to welcome Messianic Jews into their fold in an attempt to convert Jews (on top of allocating mucho dinero to do it on their own)  it isn’t much of a stretch to argue that this content is in direct conflict with Jewish tradition, culture, and learning.  It’s kind of like finding podcasts entitled “Loving your Little Boys” in the “Kids” section of iTunes–only to discover that the real subject is pedophilia.  Ok…kids are the subject matter but…um….

My hope is that we can convince Apple to re-categorize this kind of content.  Where should it go?  I’m not going to voice an opinion on that.  So long as the misleading content is removed from “Judaism” I really don’t care.  As Apple has recently been taking a fairly heavy hand in determining what is appropriate for their App Store, perhaps they will show some love to the people of the book too.

For people unfamiliar with Jewish traditions, or who are trying to learn about Jewish beliefs and customs, the inclusion of messianic content is horribly misleading.  (Perhaps Rabbi Yonah will comment with why, for anyone interested.) I was once at a hotel and watched as dozens of people walked by wearing their kippot and tallitot.  After a few minutes of watching my fellow Jews wander past, I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right.  Though the crowd had all the outward appearance of being Jews, they were not.  This messianic congregation was celebrating Yeshua.

Singing “God Bless American, waving an American flag, watching football and eating apple pie doesn’t make someone American. Right?  There are traditions and laws defining who is an American, and we don’t exactly give other nations the right to redefine who we are.  Why shouldn’t we, as Jews, have the same control over defining what is Judaism and what is not?

Our friends over at Apple might want to wander over to the Cupertino public library (do they still allow books in Cupertino?) where they can find the venerable Dewey Decimal System.  In that system, category 200 is “Religion.” Categories 225 – 287 are all categories of Christianity.  Judaism has it’s own category (296) as do other religions.

Contact Apple via iTunes: Click on   Podcasts: Audio Podcasts:Judaism.  Then click on any of the messianic content. In the upper right you’ll find a link to “Report a Concern”

Apple Public Relations     (408) 974-2042

Apple Corp   (408) 996-1010