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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 possibly non-Jewish female characters ("Shiksa" in Yiddish.) These women are often blonde and blue eyed (although shiksas need not be Nordic, just non-Jewish). Jewish society traditionally looks down on its members marrying outside of the faith, and, since early Jewish comedy writers were almost always male, it stands to reason that they would be the ones depicted marrying out.[1] It might be the case that Jews often find themselves in the minority in most populations, and therefore surrounded by shiksas (or "goyim," to use the unisex term).

The word shiksa derives from a Hebrew word meaning "abomination" and can carry Unfortunate Implications, particularly in the context of intermarriage. It's also Yiddish slang for "whore," which should make you feel all warm and cozy using it as a catch-all for non-Jewish women.

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

Examples of Shiksa Goddess include:


Film

  • Judd Apatow is in love with this trope, with Knocked Up probably the worst offender. Though his real life wife is Leslie Mann, so casting Katherine Heigl to match her is probably more of the reason.
  • Some films by Woody Allen.
  • 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. Even Woody Allen thought Jason was Jewish when casting him as a Nice Jewish Boy for Anything Else.
  • 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 (his wife is not amused).

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 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.

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 OC
  • On Sex and the City, Charlotte converts to Judaism for Harry, who she ends up marrying.
    • "I give up Jesus for you, and you can't even give up the Mets?!"
    • I an early season, she also sleeps with a an Orthodox Jewish artist whose work she's evaluating.
  • House notes that Cuddys' mom is "...a Shiksa." Apparently she converted when she married. 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.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Wolowitz calls Penny a Shiksa Goddess.

 (to Raj): You're missing the point! A Shiksa goddess is not an actual goddess. We prey on them, not to them.

    • And then he ends up with Bernadette, they initially connect over freaking out their families (Bernadette, being Catholic, is equally 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 name "Solomon", and she didn't know they took it off the side of a truck.
  • 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 non-Jewish woman, whom he (the father) outright describes as a "Shiksa".
  • Referenced by name in the American version Being Human: Josh's sister Emily thinks he's jealous because she hooked up with a Shiska Goddess before he did.

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.

Theater

  • The musical The Last Five Years, which actually has a song titled "Shiksa Goddess"
  • 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

  • Kim Possible: Ron Stoppable is a Jew while his girlfriend Kim a gentile.
  • Implied in Phineas and Ferb, Isabella Garcia-Shapiro is Mexican-Jewish.
  • Rare gender reversal: In Danny Phantom, the Jewish Sam has sexual tension with the Gentile Danny

Real Life / Truth in Television

  • Those Wacky Nazis accused Jewish men of doing this in Real Life. When they came to power, they not only forbade inter-religious marriages, but also Jews hiring German maids who were younger than 45 years. Which is ironic: Hitler's grandmother had been a maid in a Jewish household and, well, there were rumors....
  • Marilyn Monroe while married to Arthur Miller, although it's worth noting that she actually converted to Judaism.
    • Elizabeth Taylor also married two Jews -- Mike Todd and Eddie Fisher -- and converted to Judaism. However, in her autobiography she claimed that her conversion was a personal choice that was unrelated to either of these marriages.
  • Josh Gad, who plays nerdy missionary Elder Arnold Cunningham in The Book of Mormon, was raised jewish and his wife and fellow Lost Nomad, Ida Darvish was raised a catholic.
  • Famous illusionist David Copperfield dated German supermodel Claudia Schiffer for a while.
  • Any of Steven Spielberg's wives. The current, Kate Capshaw, converted to Judaism.
  • Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. The film production where they met, of The Fearless Vampire Killers, had them play cross-religious love interests too, but with roles reversed.

Notes

  1. Worth noting for Non-Jews: It's more serious for a man to intermarry than for a woman, due to Judaism traditionally being passed down through the Mother. If a child is born to a Jewish mother and a gentile father, he or she is considered by the Jews to be Jewish, but if it's the reverse, the child has to convert to be a Jew in a Orthodox or Conservative synagogue. Children with only Jewish fathers generally get a pass in Reform synagogues, as long as they were raised as Jews.
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