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The Rise and Fall—and Rise—of “Jewess”
Nextbook ^ | 05.14.08 | Daniel Krieger

Posted on 05/22/2008 8:18:44 PM PDT by forkinsocket

Why are twenty-first-century women reclaiming a derogatory term?

In 1980, Rabbi Jacob Rader Marcus, an octogenarian scholar of Jewish history, decided to title his new book about Jewish women in America “The American Jewess.” His publisher, Ktav, told him that was out of the question because the term “Jewess” was, well, offensive. Marcus, more concerned with historical truth than political correctness, didn’t really care. He compromised on the title, calling his study The American Jewish Woman: 1654–1980, but refused to remove the term from his text. “Many Jews today deem it a ‘dirty word’ and avoid it," he writes in the preface. "I believe it is a neutral descriptive noun and I use it constantly. If for some it has become a term of contempt, it is because Judeophobic Gentiles have made it so. I refuse to bow to their prejudice.”

If Marcus had made it to the twenty-first century, he would’ve appreciated the latest chapter in the long and winding history of the word. In recent years, as demeaning “-ess” feminine nouns like “stewardess” and “actress” have continued to fade from use, their sister-term “Jewess” has been making a comeback. It started in 1998, when Ophira Edut created The Jewess is Loose!, a Web site on which she playfully reported the thoughts and adventures of Ophi, “a chunky, funky, quarter-finding, bagel-eating Jew” who finds herself negotiating the foreign world of Duluth, Minnesota. The following year, a heavily tattooed performance artist, the “Jewess Tattooess,” made her debut on the stages of London with a dark, taboo-breaking solo show that incorporated aspects of Yiddish theater and sideshows. Since then, a handful of blogs have popped up with names like Jewesses with Attitude, Barefoot Jewess, Cute Jewess Tells All, and most recently, plain old Jewess—all created by women [...]

(Excerpt) Read more at nextbook.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: bookreview; jewess; jewish; jewishamericans; term; women
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1 posted on 05/22/2008 8:18:44 PM PDT by forkinsocket
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To: Alouette

Vicious Babushka ping


2 posted on 05/22/2008 8:22:33 PM PDT by lesser_satan (Cthulu '08! Why vote for the lesser evil?)
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To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; 2ndDivisionVet; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; af_vet_rr; agrace; Aiko; ...
FReepMail to be added or removed from this pro-Israel/Judaic/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

3 posted on 05/22/2008 8:25:41 PM PDT by Alouette (Vicious Babushka)
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To: forkinsocket
In recent years, as demeaning “-ess” feminine nouns like “stewardess” and “actress” have continued to fade from use

Really? Haven't noticed. I guess it'll be official when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a liberal outfit if there ever was one) changes the award from Best Actress to best ....Actor Womyn.

4 posted on 05/22/2008 8:45:30 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: forkinsocket

I am of Jewish ancestry and I have heard that term all my life, no one ever told me it was negative. I am proud to be a Jewess! My Dad always called my Mom a Jewess princess, funny, I never knew it to be a negative..


5 posted on 05/23/2008 6:42:43 AM PDT by oswegodeee (Dee) ( Born in the South and raised in a G_D centered home)
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To: oswegodeee; forkinsocket
I am of Jewish ancestry and I have heard that term all my life, no one ever told me it was negative. I am proud to be a Jewess! My Dad always called my Mom a Jewess princess, funny, I never knew it to be a negative..

I guess it's one of those words where it depends who uses it and the context.

6 posted on 05/23/2008 9:24:33 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative (1984 was supposed to be a warning not an instruction manual!)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: oswegodeee
They had a few year old repeat show on Law and Order: CI, in which the villain showed his anti-Semitism by using the word 'Jewess'. Guess they need to change that.
8 posted on 05/23/2008 12:03:14 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (All of this has happened before, and will happen again!)
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