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Shiksa Goddess

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Image by hotrod2001. Used with permission.
"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─most American Jews grow-up more exposed to the larger society's notions of beauty than to their ethnic-specific ones, which are more often associated with maternal figures. 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, children to a non-Jewish mother technically aren't Jewish themselves by religious law. It's a really insulting term, on par with "slut" or "whore." If one character is calling a woman a shiksa outside of an attraction context, you can bet they're not particularly fond of her.

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

The inversion of Shiksa Goddess is Gentile Jew-Chaser, which is about non-Jews having this reaction to Jews.



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    Comic Books 
  • In A Contract with God, Frimme Hersh, who has lived an extremely devout life, abandons his faith after a Cynicism Catalyst and immediately takes up a shiksa mistress, in addition to other questionable life choices. It's not clear whether he's doing this because he thinks gentile women are beautiful, or because he just wants to stick it to God and the religious community as much as possible.
  • In The Crew, Kasper Cole is dating a black woman who frequently butts heads with his Jewish mother.
  • Marlene Alraune to the Jewish - albeit not very observant - Marc Spector, a.k.a. Moon Knight.
  • In the second part of Maus there is a small argument between Art Spiegelmann and his French-born gentile wife about which animal he should use draw her and French people in general. Quite annoyed (as she has converted to please Art's father) she says he should have married a Jewish-born girl they both know. To which Spiegelmann textually replies " They [Jewish girls] remind me too much of my family to be erotic", which is one the key point of this trope.
  • In Robin (1993) the Jewish - under most writers' pens - Sebastian Ives dated the non-Jewish Callie Evans off and on for the first two years of high school.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • All My Loved Ones: Samuel Silberstein is a successful older Jewish musician and is engaged to Eva Marie, a beautiful young blond woman who is Christian. She loves him but her father later persuades her to leave him because of the persecution the Jewish are facing before WWII.
  • The wedding in American Wedding 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.
  • 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.
  • The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch: The film's plot is kicked off by Jewish Orthodox student Motti meeting and falling in love with non-Jewish Laura.
  • Bordello of Blood is an interesting example of this and Gentile Jew-Chaser 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.
  • The Front has Howard, the working-class Jew, falling for Florence, the well-bred Connecticut WASP.
  • In The Great Houdinis, the Jewish Harry marries the Catholic Bess, to his mother's dismay. They hold two different wedding ceremonies, one for each religion.
  • The Heartbreak Kid might be the Trope Codifier. A self-centered young Jewish man leaves his Nice Jewish Girl new bride for a blonde goddess that he sees on the beach. While he's on his honeymoon.
  • 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.
  • Lenny: The very Jewish Lenny Bruce uses this exact phrase to describe non-Jewish Honey, his hot stripper girlfriend, in a scene where she surprises him by striking a provocative nude pose as he enters his apartment.
  • Shiva Baby: The Jewish Max brings his seemingly perfect "shiksa princess" wife, Kim, to the shiva, where she is the object of envy of his (also Jewish) sugar baby Danielle.
  • 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.
  • Solomon & Gaenor: In 1911 Wales, a young Jewish man named Solomon Levinsky falls in love with a blonde-haired Christian girl, Gaenor. Because he knows neither family will accept them (hers are conventional anti-Semites, his is Orthodox and marrying outside the faith is strictly forbidden), he introduces himself as "Sam Livingstone" and pretends to be a gentile. Tragedy ensues.
  • The 1950s Hollywood film Young Lions has a young Jewish man called Noah falling for a WASP called Hope. She is indeed a beautiful blonde with blue eyes.

  • Tracy Bacon from Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is presented as a gay male version of this trope.
  • Danielle Steel romance and drama novel Fine Thing features Jewish protagonist finding the love of his life in Gentile, blonde Liz. His mother, the textbook stereotype of the meddling and dominant Jewish mother, first tries to sabotage this but then comes to dearly love Liz.
  • 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.
  • Judith Krantz likes to put them in almost every book. Possibly the most memorable fetishing character is Blue Blood 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.
  • Ulysses has a twofer. Before the events of the story, Leopold Bloom's deceased father Rudolf Virag (a Jewish immigrant from Hungary) married a Protestant Irish woman shortly after emigrating to Dublin. Leopold himself—who's non-observant, but often ostracized for his Jewish ancestry—married Molly Bloom, who grew up in Gibraltar and apparently has some Spanish ancestry.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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).
  • Referenced by name in Being Human (US): Josh's sister Emily thinks he's jealous because she hooked up with a Shiksa Goddess before he did.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard Wolowitz calls Penny a Shiksa Goddess.
      Howard: (to Raj) You're missing the point! A Shiksa goddess is not an actual goddess. We prey on them, not to them.
    • Howard ends up with Bernadette (played by Melissa Rauch, who ironically is Jewish herself). 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.
  • The mistress of a Hasidic rebbe in an episode of Blue Bloods is referred to as such.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Downton Abbey
    • Lady Rose becomes a near perfect example (blonde, blue-blooded and British)note  when she hooks up with the Jewish Atticus Aldridge in Series 5. Atticus's father is against the union—he even calls Lady Rose a shiksa—but his mother just wants her son to be happy and even threatens him with divorce if he does anything to jeopardize the wedding.
    • The Countess Cora Crawley has an Episcopalian mother and a late Jewish father. She tells off a guest at her niece's wedding for implying that it must be "embarrassing" for a girl from the family to marry a Jewish man.
  • Glee has Puck (who's Jewish) having feelings for blonde and Christian Quinn.
  • House: House notes that Cuddys' mom is "...a Shiksa." Apparently she converted when she married Cuddy's father. She's also a bitch.
  • Mad Men featured some relationships involving Gentiles and Jewish people.
    • The straightest example is Peggy Olson. Raised Catholic, blue-eyed, and of Irish Catholic and Norwegian ancestry, she dates the culturally-Jewish Abe Drexler from Season 4 through Season 7A. Also, in a one-off moment, Peggy's colleague Michael Ginsburg's Alter Kocker father had a very interesting reaction when he saw her.
    • Briefly discussed when blue-eyed, WASP-y Betty Draper talks about a Nice Jewish Boy from high school she dated. Apparently, the following year, all the Jewish girls dyed their hair blonde.
    • Inverted for two relationships, with Gentile men and Jewish women: Don Draper had an affair with the Jewish department-store owner Rachel Menken in Season 1, and a few years later ultra-WASP Roger Sterling divorced his wife to marry his Jewish secretary Jane Siegel. These fit since both Don and Roger are very much un-Jewish in appearance and very much conventionally attractive (with the caveat that Roger is a Silver Fox), to say nothing of both being wealthy and powerful businessmen.
  • An in-universe example on Married... with Children: The Bundys visit a Hollywood TV studio where there are posters for fictitious shows, including "Me And The Shiksa".
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel:
    • Midge and Joel are a married Jewish couple. Joel leaves his wife for his ditzy "Methodist" secretary, which Midge finds particularly insulting. Joel's own parents are politely but staunchly against the pairing.
    • Joel eventually dumps the "Methodist"...only to take up with one Mei Ling, daughter of the Chinese landlords of his nightclub. (It's in Chinatown and they're using it as a front for their illegal Chinese casino.) This leads to an awkward situation where it's played straight and inverted—as much as his parents are horrified by this Chinese shiksa, her parents are horrified by this Jewish guailao. (It's also a bit of a nod to a trope from about 20-30 years after the setting of the series that American Jewish men can't resist (East) Asian American women and vice versa.)
    • Midge's brother married a blond Gentile woman who promptly converted and is trying way too hard to be Jewish enough for her in-laws.
  • 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.
  • Never Have I Ever has the Jewish Ben Gross, who after dumping his Jewish American Princess girlfriend Shira, dates a few gentile girls like new girl and Indian Muslim Aneesa, the Latina Margot, and longtime academic rival and main character Indian Hindu Devi. Devi and Ben end up in a committed and happy relationship at the end of the series''.
    • Earlier in the show, the Afro-Latina and gentile Fabiola dates (about 2 seasons and a half) the Jewish Eve.
    • Devi's grandmother Nirmala gets this treatment in the last season of the show when she gets engaged to and marries the Ashkenazi Jewish American Len.
  • Queer as Folk (US): Melanie calls Lindsay her shiksa goddess at one point.
  • Scenes from a Marriage (2021): Jonathan was raised in a conservative Jewish family and gave up his religion after he got with Mira. As she says, he liked it that she didn't care for the traditions. After they split he starts picking up the traditions again. It's telling that his second wife is Jewish, although he still prefers whatever he has with Mira over her.
  • Schitt's Creek has Jewish Johnny Rose married to White-Dwarf Starlet Moira Rose, who is implied to be Irish Catholic. Their son David refers to himself as a "delightful half-half situation" when asked if he is Jewish.
  • Scrubs gives Elliot an Imagine Spot where she thinks of making a robot as her dream husband. She also happens to make him Jewish (revealed by breaking a glass at their imagined wedding ceremony) — while she is blonde and blue-eyed. Immediately after snapping out of the fantasy she bemoans that's really going to piss off her WASP-y parents.
  • Seinfeld: In "The Serenity Now", Elaine's "shiksappeal" attracts three Jewish men over the course of the episode. It starts with a 13-year-old boy who, immediately after being officially declared a man during his bar mitzvah, forcefully makes out with her. When she rejects him because he's only 13 and therefore not "really" a man yet, he renounces Judaism, calling the bar mitzvah a sham. Later on, the boy's father plants one on her as well, and when she tells him that he's only attracted her because of her shiksappeal, he also renounces Judaism in an effort to prove that he'd still be attracted to her if he wasn't Jewish. Finally, when she tries to talk to a rabbi about how to get rid of her shiksappeal, the rabbi tells her that shiksappeal is just a myth... and then immediately proceeds to hit on her. Even Jerry's attracted to her in this episode; after his girlfriend makes him get more in touch with his feelings, he actually proposes to Elaine. (Ironically, Elaine is played by the Jewish Julia Louis-Dreyfus.)note 
  • 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.
  • Vienna Blood: In Season 1 Max forsakes Clara, the nice Jewish girl that his parents have set him up with, because he falls for Amelia, who is a Gentile. This becomes an even bigger plot point in Season 2, as Max's parents try to set him up with another Jewish girl and his mother overtly disapproves of Max's dating a non-Jewish woman.
  • On The West Wing, Josh and CJ quarrel and he calls her "shiksa feminista". He immediately acknowledges that he has gone too far.

  • 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.

  • The Bible:
    • Jezebel, a Phoenician Baal-worshiping princess, marries 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 worshiping the idols Ba'al and Asherah. This is why "Jezebel" is often used to mean a temptress or slut. Though to be fair, Ahab married Jezebel to form a political alliance with Phoenicia, not because he loved her.
    • Ruth, the Moabite daughter-in-law of the Jewish widow Naomi, who later on marries Naomi's kinsman Boaz. Her marriage to Boaz is a Subversion, though, as it's made clear she was a Jewish convert before she married him.
    • There's also the wives of Joseph (married an Egyptian) and Moses (married a Midianite/Ethiopian).
    • Then there's the numerous foreign wives of King Solomon, who lead him to build places of worship for their own gods. He is punished by the fracturing of the kingdom after his death.
  • Since Judaism is matrilineal, some traditions believe that non-Jewish wives converted when they married - otherwise, their children wouldn't have been Jewish, which would be extremely incongruous when the child is, say, the king of Israel. Some of them, like Solomon's wives, were just very bad at it.

  • 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 musical The Last Five Years, which actually has a song titled "Shiksa Goddess" in which Jamie rejoices that his new girlfriend is not Jewish and admits that he doesn't really care about anything else. He lists a long string of things he could overlook for the sake of a Shiksa girl — including ones that really should be an issue, such as her having mob connections. If you were infer from this that Jamie's and Cathy's relationship is a little shallow… you might be right.
    Jamie: If you had a tattoo, that wouldn't matter
    If you had a shaved head, that would be cool
    If you came from Spain or Japan
    Or the back of a van
    Just as long as you're not from Hebrew school
    I'd say, "Now I'm getting somewhere!
    I'm finally breaking through!"
    I'd say, "Hey! Hey! Shiksa goddess!
    I've been waiting for someone like you"

    Video Games 
  • Fate/Grand Order has one of the classics, The Queen of Sheba, show up. She never actually gets a chance to interact with King Solomon on-screen, but it does show that she has an obvious crush on the man and wants to protect his legacy. However, there isn't any confirmation that she was really married to him or not (as her profile mentioned it's just a Ethiopian folklore), or if her crush is actually caused by her Spirit Origin being affected by that story.
  • 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 
  • Kim Possible: Ron Stoppable is a Jew while his girlfriend Kim is a Gentile.
  • In South Park None of Kyle Broflovski's love interests have ever been Jewish. Rebecca, Bebe, Nichole, Heidi, and Leslie were all gentiles. Even the two people he's most shipped with in fandom (Stan and Cartman) aren't Jewish (worse, Cartman is Anti-Semitic).