Friends, I’m saddened to announce that Messianic musician Aviad Cohen has passed away yesterday, according to a Facebook post from his family.
I knew Aviad for many years; he contributed his music to Chavah years ago, and before that, I knew him through my younger brother when the two of them met in person by chance in Jerusalem.
Aviad produced 4 albums for God, including 3 techno albums and 1 Scripture reading album:
Aviad’s last album, Scripturesonics, is a stirring Scripture reading album set to orchestral music. It’s my personal favorite.
Aviad made big splashes when he, as a conservative Jew and rapper known as 50 Shekel, came to belief in Yeshua as Israel’s messiah. His public conversion made him a target for anti-missionaries and Jews who considered his belief in Yeshua to be a betrayal of Judaism.
At the time of this writing, it's not clear how Aviad died. One friend says he passed away from an unknown illness, but I’ve yet to confirm this. Another friend he was struggling with mental health.
I do know that he had been struggling with psychological issues for many years, often in a very public way.
I can personally attest that over the last few years, Aviad showed signs of struggling with mental health. He deleted his whole website...and months later put it back online again. This was accompanied by newsletters saying he's disengaging with everyone...only to come back months later reinvigorated.
And this process happened multiple times over the last few years.
I believe this instability was due to his personal struggle with mental health.
Likewise, his faith seemed to ebb and flow, going through ups and downs.
I too can attest to this. Aviad for a time saw his faith in Messiah as something within the Jewish world. But overtime, he distanced himself from the Messianic movement and moved into Evangelical Christianity. Later, at times, it appeared he wasn't practicing any faith at all.
My last contact with Aviad was a newsletter he sent out in August, a purely professional announcement about his video editing services. Prior to that, in May, he had sent out a letter thanking Messianic believers for helping him:
Hi, it's Aviad Cohen. I would like to thank the handful of people who understood my prior newsletter and chose to give in order to help me. Those of you who chose action instead of just words or no response at all, well that's the difference between us and them. We're a rarity, but those of us who help are of a kind and nurturing mindset. That to me, is true Yeshua Messiah living. Yeshua took action. He didn't just sit there and judge like many believers who sit with a judging finger. He loved. He was not all talk. Again, He took action. That shows me someone's faith more than anything, their ability to take action and help. I wish more believers were like the people who cared to help me. Instead of judging me, they loved me.
I don't know all that Aviad was suffering through. I do know that he had an encounter with the living God, and it changed him, and caused him to come to believe that Jesus is the messiah. (Aviad tells the story, and bares his heart, in his song Pray.)
Aviad’s memory is a blessing to all of us here at Chavah Messianic Radio. His albums and Scripture readings continue to bless thousands. Despite his struggles and faults, I am glad to have known Aviad; I’m thankful for his life and service.
May God receive him and raise him up on the last day.
ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו מלך העולם, דין האמת