Sha With The Shiksa!

Shiksa is the “N” word of the Jewish community. It is so often used jokingly that we can forget that it’s a vile, sexist, racist word. Somehow, perhaps because sexism is still tolerated in a way that racism is not, “shiksa” is more acceptable than the equally despicable “shvartze.” Yet, when asked, most people who use the term “shiksa” will defend their word choice with the argument that it is common parlance for denoting a non-Jewish woman, and not intended as an insult. But, whatever the intention, it remains a crass insult, and reveals a state of mind that embarrasses us as a community.

Zeek‘s Dan Friedman takes the Jewish community to task for its ongoing invocation of the word “shiksa,” in this week’s Forward.

13 thoughts on “Sha With The Shiksa!

  1. Israel Shahak writes:
    “The third example comes from a work which has far less serious scholarly intent – but is all the more popular for that: The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten. This light-hearted work – first published in the USA in 1968, and reprinted in many editions, including several times as a Penguin paperback – is a kind of glossary of Yiddish words often used by Jews or even non-Jews in English-speaking countries. For each entry, in addition to a detailed definition and more or less amusing anecdotes illustrating its use, there is also an etymology stating (quite accurately, on the whole) the language from which the word came into Yiddish and its meaning in that language. The entry Shaygets – whose main meaning is ‘a Gentile boy or young man – is an exception: there the etymology cryptically states ‘Hebrew Origin’, without giving the form or meaning of the original Hebrew word. However, under the entry Shiksa – the feminine form of Shaygets – the author does give the original Hebrew word, sheqetz (or, in his transliteration, sheques) and defines its Hebrew meaning as ‘blemish’. This is a bare-faced lie, as every speaker of Hebrew knows. The Megiddo Modern Hebrew-English Dictionary, published in Israel, correctly defines shegetz as follows: ‘unclean animal; loathsome creature, abomination (colloquial – pronounced shaygets) wretch, unruly youngster; Gentile youngster’.”
    Do any Hebrew speakers out there have an opinion on this one? (other than comments about the author of course)

  2. here’s my question? what is the appropriate way to reffer to a non jew?
    I’m getting sick of people yelling at me for say goy. For the love of G-d “goy” means nation and it’s the exact translation of gentile! Or are Jews not allowed to have slang.
    I’m all for watching what you say, but come on!

  3. That’s bullshit. Shicksa is the Yiddish word for referring to a non-Jewish female, Friedman is just pulling the race card cause he doesnt know what the hell hes talking about.

  4. Whooooah. Ok, this kind of stuff pisses me off. Here’s the catch-all. It is absolutely impossible for anyone, simply by saying words to offend another person. In fact, because of free speech I have the right to say whatever the fuck I want, and you can’t stop me. If you are offended by something someone says, its your fault. You choose to be offended. Sticks and stones and all that. Nothing anyone says ever hurts my feelings, ever. It just can’t happen. Keep in mind that doing things is different than saying things. If nobody can offend me no matter what they say, then why are other people offended?
    Let’s have another look. We have two factors with two possibilities each. The first factor is a bad word. The word can be used in a good or a bad way. Intent to insult may or may not be present. For example. “You dumbass kike!” vs. “What up my kike brothers?” The first obviously intends to piss off people, the second it just being funny with the jew crew. Words are just words. If the second one bothers you, you have a problem. If the first one bothers you, let’s move on. So somebody said something to you that you didn’t like, and they intended to hurt your feelings. Well, think about this. There are two possibilities. 1) What they say is true. 2) What they say is false. If what they say is true, fess up. If you have regrets in life or can’t handle the truth then that is a fault in your character. If it is false, who cares? You know its false, who cares what other people think???
    What it all comes down to is this. Free speech comes first. I have a right to say whatever I want. Nowhere is it written you have some right to not be offended by what I say. Knowing that, there is only one way you will ever be happy. Don’t care what other people think about you. I don’t, and life is great. I never get “offended”. Be like me or shut the fuck up you whiny bitches.
    To repeat. If you are offended by any word or anything anyone says, its your fault. Don’t be that way. Other people have a right to say what they want and nothing you feel is going to get in the way of that.
    Sorry, this is an issue that comes up regularly and I’m very passionate about it, so I rant like this.

  5. First off: Apreche, if nothing anyone says every offends you or hurts your feelings, buddy, you are the one with a problem. I’m all for a toughness of mind and blowing false statements off (I was accused of a lot of things in high school), but to claim to never be offended, well, that’s just crazy. Every been dumped or rejected by a girl? It don’t feel to good. A direct hit to one’s ego. So lighten up. The scars some words leave can last just as long as the scars caused by sticks and stones.
    However, the First Amendment is a beautiful thing, and if a statement, though painful, is true. Buck up and learn from the truth.
    Which leads me to say “hogwash” about the shiksa rant. It’s a specific term, as far as I know, for a goyisha girl who dates Jewish men. Now, I’ve seen a number of really cool Jewish women dating goyish men, and that frustrates me. So, if women face a similar situation, and wants to use a specific derogatory term for such women, well, G-d bless the First Amendment.
    And has anyone meet a person who admits to being offended and hurt by being called a shiksa? And in what contect was this person harmed? I’d really like to know. Seriously.

  6. 1) If a girl dumps me, oh well, I guess she wasn’t the one for me then.
    2) Dumping me is a doing not a saying. The words “I’m breaking up with you” don’t cause the pain. The act of having a person you may have cared about no longer being with you is what hurts. You fell bad because you lost something not because someone said something. The line between saying and doing is sometimes vauge and thin. I’m talking about acts of pure saying only.
    A good example is the nazis in The Blues Brothers movie (original). They were saying all kinds of bad stuff, being nazis. But that’s ok. However, they were also blocking the road preventing traffic from getting through. Not ok. That’s why it was perfectly fine to run them through with the car.

  7. Wasn’t there a Seinfeld episode about “Shiksappeal”? 🙂
    Please, it is not an offensive word.

  8. Maybe you should ask a girl whos not jewish if she’d be offended by that word after explaining to her the definition, since the word probably doesnt phase a girl who is a jew.

  9. I don’t care if someone uses the word “shiksa”. When I was growing up, it was a magic word that changed me from shy bookish WASP into something exotic, forbidden and somewhat dangerous in the eyes of all those hot Jewish guys I was drooling over anyway. Heh. [20 yearss later I converted to Judaism, so I guess I’m not “shiksa” anymore, just “shiksa-style” 😉

  10. Shiksa? The term is probably a little less offensive than “squaw” and a lot more offensisve than “jewess” or “negress”.

  11. I am a Gentile married to a Jewish man and my in-laws use the term Shiksa towards me to be rude and YES it does offend me. My father in law had the nerve to call me the blood of Hitler on my wedding day referring to my German descent. I am quick to point out however that Hitler was from Austria, not Germany and my husband’s family is of Austrian descent so who is the blood of Hitler? Now, when my hubby calls me his little Shiksa or Gentile then it certainly does not offend. I beleive it is all in the context. His family intends to be crass and rude and in that case, yes it does hurt. Most of my husbands family has disowned him since our marriage 7 years ago. They tolerate us at times. NOW, his sister recently married a Gentile as well, however he is LOADED and so this marriage is accepted by them. Hmmmmm… I have never heard him being called any names and that is just sexist and rude. Nice double standards!

  12. I found this online too, and YES it is offensive now that I know the true meaning:
    Shiksa and Shaygetz are the Yiddish derivative of the respective
    feminine and masculine Hebrew words for something unclean, dirty. The
    appellations are customarily applied to gentiles who do things
    inimical to Jewish interests, such as vandalizing Jewish buildings,
    robbing Jewish kids of their lunch money, or becoming romantically
    involved with Jews :-). The root is “sheketz”, which refers to house
    rodents and lizards. They impart ritual impurity, and therefore the
    term lends itself to the same kind of idea. Some have taken to using
    the term to refer to Christian women in general. If Christians were
    using the term against Jews in English, they would be saying “Filthy
    Jews” or “Dirty Jews”, and we Jews would rightly be offended. Hence,
    use of these terms should really be avoided; it is insulting and
    inappropriate, even if no bad intent was behind the usage. It is
    always better to use neutral, less pejorative (judgemental) terms,
    such as non-Jew or Christian.

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