The 14 Words

Sunday, 1 June 2014

What is a ‘Shiksa’?

What is the true meaning behind the Jewish term for a non-Jewish woman, ‘shiksa’?

Jewish author Joshua Lambert gives us the answer in his book Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews and American Culture:

The threat posed by the non-Jewish woman is etymologically clear in the epithet shiksa or shikse, employed widely in modern Yiddish and English to non-Jewish women and, as we have seen, in [Philip] Roth’s Letting Go, where from the perspective of Paul’s parents, “a shikse once . . . [is] a shikse for all time.”  The Biblical Hebrew שקץ (sheketz) is translated into English as "‘unclean creature,’ reptile; abomination, detestation, uncleanliness,” and in the Biblical dietary laws, this word denotes dirty, unpleasant creatures unfit for consumption, such as shellfish and insects.
Well that’s not very nice, Jews. Why so hostile?

Is it because a typical ‘shiksa’ looks like this:



And a typical Jewess looks like this:


I guess I’d be jealous too.


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