Shiksa? Huh?

What is a Shiksa?

I first came across the word shiksa when my husband was trying to teach me some Hebrew and Yiddish words.  The “ch” sounds (in words like challah) was proving too difficult and I was getting frustrated.  Laughing, he said “Ok, here is an easy one.” and told me to try saying “shiksa.”

So what does it mean?  In short, it describes a non-Jewish woman.  However, as far as I can tell, is one of “those” words.  You know, the ones originally created to be a grave insult that have somehow morphed into a slightly racy, often endearing term.

I’ve read (although am still trying to verify) that it stems off of a Hebrew word meaning “abomination,” which doesn’t seem good. But, in recent years it has made appearances in mainstream culture.

Want a few examples?  Of course you do! On TV, Seinfeld’s Elaine is told she has “shiksappeal” and Charlotte from Sex and the City is described by a boyfriend as a “Shiksa Goddess.”  The Alt-Rock group Say Anything even has a song called “Shiksa (Girlfriend).”  Finally, my own loving husband has used it to describe me on more then one occasion!

To me, it seems like shiksa should be embraced by those of us who fit the bill.  After all, that makes it extremely hard to use as an insult!

However, you should be cautious.  Some of the people you meet along the way may have a very different understanding of how shiksa should be used.  So, either test the waters first…or use such brazen confidence they don’t dare question you!


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