A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Jewcy about my Jewish identity – more specifically, about not knowing Hebrew and wondering if that made me less of a Jew. I also referenced the fact that my mother is not Jewish, which isn’t some big secret or anything, but was tangential to the main topic of the post. The blogger Luke Ford linked to the post on his blog, and mentioned he liked my writing. In response, he got this email from "Chaim Amalek," which he published the next day:
We all know about the Shiksa Menace, V1.0 – the blonde with boobs and bearing who turned the heads of many a yid one or two generations removed from the shtetl, and who continues to lure Jewish men to the doom of happiness. Then came Shiksa Menace 2.0 in the form of the Yellow Peril – Asian women morphing themselves into good “jewish” wives while still eating dog meat. Now comes Shiksa Menace 3.0, possibly the most pernicious and effective of all because, well, they know Jewish men through their fathers, and have the good looks of the gentile mothers. This Lilit person is an example of that. She may think of herself as Jewish, but in terms of rabbinical law she simply is not. How many Jewish men will be lured to their communal doom by this new breed of shiksa?
Sadly, I believe this email was intended to be humorous. The bottom line is, I’m well aware of what Orthodox Jews think of my Jewish identity and, if I cared, I wouldn’t go to shul, observe holidays, or edit a blog about Judaism. But I do all of those things and then some, and the people at my egalitarian, open-minded, non-judgmental Reform synagogue couldn’t care less who my mother is or what she believes in. For the record, she was raised a Presbyterian – and perhaps the Protestant half of me believes that it’s faith, just faith, that makes me a Jew. The rest is noise.
Luckily, I have some pretty rad, smart, and observant friends who thought "Chaim"’s email was ridiculous…
Chaim Amalek responds:
I don’t get this comment, especially in the context of what she writes. Please enlighten me:
"Sadly, I believe this email was intended to be humorous."
Why would that belief trigger sadness? For the record, I welcome new infusions of blood into the Jewish genome, and have long urged (halachikally) Jewish women in need of sperm to seek it from strapping Irish firemen and from powerfully built negroes in the Paul Robeson mode. Imagine what their children would be capable of doing with their fists and tongues!
Betty posts to Jewcy.com: So, if I’m a 5’8" naturally-blonde green-eyed halachically kosher Jewess (my interfaith parents even have a ketubah!) with a super-Catholic real name who looks like my Irish dad and was raised Catholic, and I’m a Jewish-identified atheist, does that make me 4.0 too? (My long-term live-in boyfriend is maternally Jewish as well.) The standing line is that "I’ve got shiskappeal"; one of my friends just started a "Blonde Jews" Facebook group!
Chaim Amalek emails: Luke, ever notice how proud Jewesses are to look like goyim (when they look like goyim)? Consider that "betty" of the Jewsy blog, the one in the comments boasting of her shiksappeal. Yes you, "betty," with your height and naturally blonde hair and green eyes are especially disturbing to "shalom bais" within the community, because you are what many a Jewish man wants, but cannot get because such women are rare, looks-wise, among the daughters of Jewish women. So if a Jewish man peeking over the barrier at temple should see you and his heart fill with lust, what does he likely think when he looks upon his more stereotypically Jewish looking wife or girlfriend after services? Likely, men being the dogs that men are, he thinks "Hmmm…..I gots to get me some of that shiksa-looking flesh….whether she is Jewish or not." How can this benefit the average Jewish woman, the one who like most is shorter, has darker curly hair and a "yiddishe punim"? If every woman calling herself Jewish looked more or less like most other Jewish women (and one sees this among the first cousin marrying Satmar of Brooklyn) there would be fewer opportunities for communal division.