We often advocate for eliminating the use of words like “goy” and “shiksa” because they carry negative connotations. They are often spoken in hushed tones or used in a derogatory manner. But some don’t think this has to be the case. Much like how the LGBT community has reclaimed the word “queer” and tried to strip it of its negative connotations, a blogger is attempting to do the same thing with the word “shiksa.” And she is doing it with a blog about Jewish cuisine.
Tori Avey is a blogger, screenwriter, and the non-Jewish spouse in an interfaith relationship. Her blog, “The Shiksa Blog,” is geared towards women of other religious backgrounds who are married to Jewish men and want to learn both the how-tos and whys of Jewish cooking. This covers a lot of ground, from rules of keeping kosher to explaining that bagels and matzah ball soup are only a small part of Jewish cuisine. It’s educational, and offers a great way for interfaith couples to dig deeper into Jewish customs.
As for the title of her blog, she explains on her website:
While some might choose to hold on to the checkered past of the word Shiksa, I’m for reinventing the word entirely. After all, there are many Shiksas in the world. Interfaith marriage is becoming increasingly common. And a Shiksa who falls in love with a Jewish person, or Jewish culture, is not an abomination. On the contrary, I believe the word should be endowed with a new meaning—one that is positive and unashamed.
We appreciate the sense of humor she is bringing to the table, though we are not completely comfortable with such informal use of “shiksa.” It’s still quite hurtful to many in the community. But overall, Tori’s effort to deconstruct Jewish cooking and offer intermarried couples a fun way to explore Jewish culture is a welcome addition to the growing number of resources for interfaith families.
We also welcome you, Tori, to the Jewish community and we invite you to explore The Mothers Circle, our education and support program for women of other religious backgrounds who are raising Jewish children. We look forward to hearing from you!