Joshua Aaron is an award-winning American-Israeli singer and songwriter recently listed as one of the “Jewish Global 100” influencers. He grew up in the USA with a Jewish mother and a Christian father, and later moved to Jesus’ neighborhood, the Sea of Galilee. His music, sung in English and Hebrew, blends many sounds including Jewish and Middle Eastern. And his music has reached millions of listeners of all nations, and languages from around the world.

In this episode, we discuss his mixed faith upbringing, his life as a Messianic Jew, why his music has become so popular, and his very personal – and powerful – thoughts on the Hamas-Israeli conflict.

Growing up in a mixed household, with a Jewish mom and Christian dad:

“It was pretty awesome. My dad is a great guy. My mom is amazing. So, just living that out. I had a personal journey of faith where I kind of accepted what some on the outside would call ‘both.’ As a Christian Jew, I accept Jesus as the greatest Jew, at least the most famous Jew, we’ve ever had. And, just accepting Him for who He is in Christianity, but kind of removing the Christian evolution that diverted from Judaism 1,600 years ago.”

How he defines a Messianic Jew:

“A Messianic Jew basically is a Jewish person who accepts Jesus as The Messiah and tries to still live as Jesus culturally did. In other words, Jesus did celebrate Hannukah – it’s in the New Testament. And the Last Supper was a Passover Seder. Just kind of celebrating – even Christmas – from a Jewish perspective. … We do Christmas “light” at our house and go heavier on the biblical holidays, but still accepting cultural Christianity as well. But really, just trying to live it out as Jesus would have lived it out with his disciples.”

Did Joshua expect to be as successful as he is today?

“No way, but I would have been doing it anyways because I knew I was on the path that I was supposed to be on. I was already excited just to be on that journey. I went to business school at Penn State, and I hated it. I hate school, I hate studying, in that sort of sphere. But when I found YouTube, I started studying and I took several courses and I realized that I could use my gift in, hopefully, a humble way. Just realizing that God gave me something and I want to use it to the best of my ability and to go all in.”

On the “Virtual Worship in Israel” tour he created.

“I’d already been bringing tourists to Israel since 2009, every year. So, during COVID we decided to do a whole film project of Israel with all of my favorite tour guides we’ve had throughout the years. We filmed it and we had 500-600 people sign up for the virtual tour, so we just continued it, and we added some Hebrew lessons as well since then, so people are still able to go to Israel right now, even though tourism is shut down.”

His thoughts on the Hamas-Israeli conflict:

“There are two different people in Israel. There’s the parent who has an Israeli soldier in active duty, and there’s the parent who doesn’t. Before I had a soldier in the Army, I was so angry at the parents who were like, ‘Just give them (more of our) land. We want to stay at peace.’ Which I’m never for. But what was happening, was that those were the parents who had soldiers in active duty, and they were saying, ‘Listen, we don’t want any war. Whatever it takes. Even if you give up half of who we are.’ … Now that we’re in this war, you know, my daughter is a sergeant in the Israeli Defense Forces. And for me, there’s some selfishness in me, so I can’t give the right answer that’s not selfish. My answer is: cease fire, no matter what, which is probably not the right answer, I just want my daughter to be safe.”

What he’s most grateful for:

“I’m grateful to know my calling. I’m grateful to know who I am. I see a lot of superficial people trying to figure it out how to make themselves better. I’m grateful that I know who I am in God, because it gives me the confidence to know that He can use me, and I want to always try to be willing to be used by Him. And it helps me to be a better example to my kids. And it helps inspire them, as I’m seeing in their lives. So, I think just knowing who I am in God is something I’m most honored to know.”