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Shiksa Goddess
You've got Shiksappeal. Jewish men love the idea of meeting a woman that's not like their mother.
George Costanza, Seinfeld

The tendency of some Jewish male characters in media to be paired with a non-Jewish female character ("Shiksa" in Yiddish). Typically, shiksas represent the exotic outsider to the insular Jewish community. Jews looking to break free of the bonds of Jewish society might do so through association with shiksas. A gentile partner might also be a status symbol in areas where Jews are still discriminated against. Other Jewish men might simply be more attracted to women without Semitic features. Shiksas are often blonde and blue-eyed, traits more rare among Jews, to distinguish them from the Jewish norm.

The word "shiksa" comes from the Hebrew word for "abomination," as these gentile temptresses were feared to be stealing away all the Nice Jewish Boys. Like most cultures, Jewish society traditionally looks down on members marrying outsiders, seeing it as a rejection of their heritage and community. Mixed couples won't necessarily perpetuate the traditions and beliefs that bind Jewish society together. In fact, strict application of Jewish law requires children born of a gentile mother to "convert" to Judaism even if they are raised Jewish.

The champion of Jewish beauty, and rival to the Shiksa Goddess is the Shayna Maidel (Yiddish slang, it literally means "a pretty girl", though typically applied to a Jewish woman).

The inversion of Shiksa Goddess is Matzo Fever, which is about non-Jews having this reaction to Jews.


Examples:

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     Film  

  • Judd Apatow is in love with this trope, with Knocked Up probably the most notable example. One need only look to the fact that he married Leslie Mann to see the inspiration.
  • Annie Hall: The contrast between Annie's white-bread Midwestern WASP family and (Allen's character) Alvy's Brooklyn Jewish family is frequently Played for Laughs. One of the working titles was even Me and My Goy. Some other films by Woody Allen also qualify. His two longest relationships have been with Mia Farrow and Soon-yi Previn who are both non-Jews.
  • The fake trailer for "Cleopatra Schwartz" in Kentucky Fried Movie paired a Hasidic Jew with a Blaxploitation heroine.
  • The wedding in American Pie III is all about this, which is mildly ironic, as the Gentile bride is played by the Half-Irish/Half-Jewish Alyson Hannigan and the Jewish groom is played by the Roman Catholic, Italian-American Jason Biggs, who is often mistaken for a Jew.
  • Robert Redford was the male version for Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were.
  • Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood, is an interesting example of this and Matzo Fever in the romance between Katherine Verdoux and Rafe Guttman. For such a gleefully trashy film, it's got a very interesting subtext about interconfessional romance.
  • Yoine Shagal, the Jewish innkeeper of The Fearless Vampire Killers, is comically lusting after his Christian maidservant, the beautiful blonde Magda, though considering what his wife looks like he'll probably take anything.
  • In The Social Network, a Jewish character states that Jews like Asian girls because they're smart and not Jewish. The Jewish fraternity party seems to be entirely populated by Jewish guys and Asian girls.

     Literature  

  • The author Judith Krantz likes to put them in almost every book. Possibly the most memorable fetishing character is Blue Blood My Girl Is a Slut Jessica in Scruples, who only boffs Jewish guys because they run in different social circles, so her reputation among the other Blue Blood types is safe. She also rates men on a scale of 1-10 and boinks Jewish nines. When asked what will happen if she ever meets a Jewish ten, she answers, "Run like a thief, I hope." Nope, when it happens she marries him.
  • Trilby is perhaps the Ur Example.
  • Tracy Bacon from Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is presented as a gay male version of this trope
  • The titular character from Jeffery Archer's short story, Christina Rosenthal, certainly qualifies.
  • Alex Portnoy in Portnoy's Complaint talks at length about his attraction to non-Jewish women and his three Christian girlfriends, whom he nicknamed the Monkey, the Pumpkin, and the Pilgrim.

     Live Action TV  

  • Elaine's "Shiksappeal", from Seinfeld. Somewhat ironically the character was originally intended to be Jewish (after all, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is, and she's distantly related to one of the most famous French Jews in history, Alfred Dreyfus).
  • Sandy and Kirsten Cohen of The O.C.
  • Sex and the City:
    • Charlotte converts to Judaism for Harry, who she ends up marrying. Charlotte to Harry: "I give up Jesus for you, and you can't even give up the Mets?!"
    • In an early season, Charlotte sleeps with an Orthodox Jewish artist whose work she's evaluating.
  • House notes that Cuddys' mom is "...a Shiksa." Apparently she converted when she married Cuddy's father. She's also a bitch.
  • On The Nanny, Fran frequently refers to Maggie as a Shiksa Goddess. This ended up becoming foreshadowing when Maggie actually does marry a Jewish boy in the final season.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard Wolowitz calls Penny a Shiksa Goddess.
      (to Raj): You're missing the point! A Shiksa goddess is not an actual goddess. We pray on them, not to them.
    • Howard ends up with Bernadette. They initially connect over freaking out their families Bernadette, being Catholic, is thrilled at the prospect of freaking out her parents. Their relationship has since moved beyond that joke.
  • On 3rd Rock from the Sun, Harry teases Dick and Tommy for dating "blonde shiksa goddesses" Mary and August. Possibly a subversion, as they're not really Jewish, or even human. Their landlady dubbed them with a Jewish identity because they had the last name "Solomon", and she didn't know they took it off the side of a truck (of the actors playing the Solomons, only Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Jewish in Real Life).
  • In an episode of Cold Case it's learned that the victim of the week had been disowned by his father because of his (the victim's) intent to abandon plans to attend dental school, and marry a non-Jewish woman, whom he (the father) outright describes as a "Shiksa".
  • Referenced by name in the American version of Being Human: Josh's sister Emily thinks he's jealous because she hooked up with a Shiksa Goddess before he did.
  • Glee has Puck (who's Jewish) having feelings for blonde and Christian Quinn
  • Queer as Folk: Melanie calls Lindsay her shiksa goddess at one point.
  • On The West Wing, Josh and CJ quarrel and he calls her "shiksa feminista". He immediately acknowledges that he has gone too far.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: the uber-Jew Larry is married to Cheryl, a level-headed, middle-American WASP. Their clash of cultures and personalities drive many plots.

     Music  

  • The band Say Anything released a single called "Shiksa (Girlfriend)" and wondering how he landed a non-Jewish girlfriend. Ironically, Max Bemis converted to Christianity when he got married.

     Religion  

  • The Bible has Jezebel, a Phoenician Baal worshipping princess, marrying the Israelite King Ahab. It's a false conversion due to her intentions to wipe out the original Hebrew religion and replace it with her Canaanite religion of worshipping the idols Ba'al and Asherah. This is why "Jezebel" is often used to mean a temptress or slut.
  • Ruth, the moabite daughter-in-law of the Jewish widow Naomi, who later on marries Noami's kinsman Boaz. There's also the wives of Joseph (married an egyptian) and Moses (married a midianite/ethiopian).

     Theater  

  • The musical The Last Five Years, which actually has a song titled "Shiksa Goddess" in which Jaime reiterates that he'd take any girl as long as she wasn't Jewish.
  • This was one of the principal tropes in Abie's Irish Rose. Abie's father wouldn't stand for any Nice Jewish Boy marrying a non-Jewish girl, so Abie has to trick his father into believing that Rose Mary Murphy is actually Rosie Murpheski. The father doesn't find out the ruse until the Jewish wedding ceremony is well underway. The play was a huge success in the 1920s, despite the fact that the critics universally agreed that it was absolutely terrible.

     Video Game  

  • Played for Drama in The Shivah. Rabbi Stone excommunicated Jack Lauder from his synagogue for pursuing a relationship with Rajshree. As a man, Stone truly wished both of them happiness. But as a conservative rabbi, he couldn't condone their union.

     Western Animation  


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