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fundiefun

Jewish Appropriation Tumblr

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fundiefun

http://goynif.tumblr.com/

 

No need to break the link, but I came across this tumblr that documents and talks about Jewish appropriation of language and customs. Very interesting for those who see the messianic trend popping up in Christian circles.

Edited by OnceUponATime
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ari_belle
http://goynif.tumblr.com/

No need to break the link, but I came across this tumblr that documents and talks about Jewish appropriation of language and customs. Very interesting for those who see the messianic trend popping up in Christian circles.

The thing about the tattoos kind of bothers me. I really dislike it when people tell other people what to do with their bodies. I'm a Jew, and I feel like if someone wants to get a tattoo in Hebrew, they should do it. It's not my business. If someone asked me if that's okay, I would just be like, "do what you want!" The person answering seems to be super-possessive of Jewish culture and the Hebrew language. Then again, maybe I don't understand her/him.

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Soldevi

I am not sure what to think of that tumblr but I have a huge problem with this claim:

Unless you speak our language, don’t take words from it to toss into your speech. It’s appropriative. And it also makes it harder for us to identify each other, since we then have to question if those who use a little Hebrew or Yiddish are actually Jewish.

O-kay. The only language that doesn't change is a dead language. Yiddish is a fusion language, for example. What abou le weekend? Languages borrow from each others, I haven't heard before this it is somehow unacceptable. My first language isn't an Indo-European language, I have learned Yiddish words without knowing them. Will I stop using them? Nope. Sauna is an ancient Finnish word, with same logic, you shouldn't use it if you aren't Finnish!

Oh my...maybe I just don't get it. I understand problems with fake judaism and such but that a use of language is forbidden...

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Arete

What about Sheygetz/Shiksa?

Those are decidedly insulting words for a non-Jewish man/woman. It is only accpetable for Jews to use these words. Despite their unflattering connotations, these words are NOT racial slurs and are in no way comparable to a slur

They are absolutely comprable to slurs, and are often used that way (though not exclusively). The word "shiksa" is not a neutral term or a term of endearment when ultra-Orthodox Jews will use it against Jewish women to imply they are immodest, acting like harlots, etc. I doubt the meaning changes much when it is aimed at a non-Jew in anger, like when someone's parent is not amused their nice Jewish boy/girl are dating outside the faith. Seriously, how old is the person who who wrote up that little Q&A, and does s/he think that there are no non-Jews who ever heard the word in use and asked their Jewish neighbors? Slurs are not exclusively racial.

I solemnly swear to smack myself upside the head the next time I use the expression "Oy vey!" :penguin-no: I detest cultural appropriation, but using words and expressions in other languages alone doesn't meet the critera. And what is that shit about making it harder to give each other the super secret cultural handshake if, for example, some 20 year-old non-Jew has the word "Shalom" written in Hebrew as a tatoo?

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MysteryHaggis

Huh....I really don't know what to think about that Tumblr. I get what they are going for (the recent Messianic Jew/appropriation thread on here was an education to me) but...it seems so, i don't know...needlessly aggressive and exclusionary? Like others, I think "who are you to tell someone how to decorate their bodies" re: the tattoo. I'm a bit conflicted :?

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saraelise
Huh....I really don't know what to think about that Tumblr. I get what they are going for (the recent Messianic Jew/appropriation thread on here was an education to me) but...it seems so, i don't know...needlessly aggressive and exclusionary? Like others, I think "who are you to tell someone how to decorate their bodies" re: the tattoo. I'm a bit conflicted :?

They're very in line with other This-Is-Not-InsertNationality/Religion/Culture/Social Justice tumblrs that also exist to call out appropriative behaviour which tumblr is full of in terms of tone. I think the collective SJ community on tumblr has reached a point where kindly explaining to someone what they're doing is wrong because of insert reasons so the tone has evolved into something a bit harsher and more to the point.

Re: tattoos, the gist, as I see is that people who have actual connection to Jewish culture or religion are using Hebrew in a way that's against actual Jewish law because they find Hebrew more exotic than English or whatever their own language is. It's basically taking something that's holy to millions of people and using it for merely decorative purposes, and I feel like that's a pretty valid reason for being annoyed?

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MysteryHaggis

They're very in line with other This-Is-Not-InsertNationality/Religion/Culture/Social Justice tumblrs that also exist to call out appropriative behaviour which tumblr is full of in terms of tone. I think the collective SJ community on tumblr has reached a point where kindly explaining to someone what they're doing is wrong because of insert reasons so the tone has evolved into something a bit harsher and more to the point.

Re: tattoos, the gist, as I see is that people who have actual connection to Jewish culture or religion are using Hebrew in a way that's against actual Jewish law because they find Hebrew more exotic than English or whatever their own language is. It's basically taking something that's holy to millions of people and using it for merely decorative purposes, and I feel like that's a pretty valid reason for being annoyed?

Oh, I see. That does make sense. Didn't know it was against Jewish law, I thought they were just trying to assert ownership a bit harshly. Thanks!

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Arete

They're very in line with other This-Is-Not-InsertNationality/Religion/Culture/Social Justice tumblrs that also exist to call out appropriative behaviour which tumblr is full of in terms of tone. I think the collective SJ community on tumblr has reached a point where kindly explaining to someone what they're doing is wrong because of insert reasons so the tone has evolved into something a bit harsher and more to the point.

Re: tattoos, the gist, as I see is that people who have actual connection to Jewish culture or religion are using Hebrew in a way that's against actual Jewish law because they find Hebrew more exotic than English or whatever their own language is. It's basically taking something that's holy to millions of people and using it for merely decorative purposes, and I feel like that's a pretty valid reason for being annoyed?

Getting tatoos was forbidden to the Israelites because the nations surrounding them did it, and they were to be "set apart". This is the first time I have heard that every single Hebrew word is considered holy under Jewish law. I can see religious people getting angry if non Jews tatoo the tetragrammaton or a prayer like "Hear, O Israel....", but any word in Hebrew?

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thoughtful

I have never heard shiksa or sheygitz used in a non-pejorative way. Goyim is generally used that way as well. I'm happy to say that the generation from my family who said such crap is dead and gone, and I never tolerated such language when they were alive.

Cultural appropriation ranges from the offensive to the goofy, and I imagine everybody has a different point at which it gets under their skin. The use of insulting names ("Goynif," BTW, is an invented word combining "goy" and "gonif" - thief) at that site leaves me cold, and some posters there are at a very high level of "don't touch our stuff, in any way shape or form!"

But, like FJ, they are varied people, and, as has happened here, it looks like they've had the "I'd rather catch flies with honey" "well, I'm sick of being polite to assholes" conversations. :D

As for the use of Hebrew, I do see some there making a distinction between sacred and secular words, and others who are staunchly "don't use Hebrew for tats or decorations or statements unless you are Jewish."

Hebrew was, for part of its history, a sacred language, used only for worship - Jews spoke Yiddish, Ladino or the language of wherever they lived for everyday conversation. Now Hebrew is back to being a conversational language, like any other, but there are still words that are used for prayer, associated with entirely Jewish concepts, and, of course, the name for God that is written but never spoken.

So, if someone with no Jewish background has a tattoo with the Hebrew word for "peace" or "love" or "courage" -- eh, whatever (for me, anyway). But, if they have "Yahweh" or "Jesus is lord" in Hebrew -- that seems more like a slap in the face.

A bit off of the topic of cultural appropriation -- personally, I tend to dislike the use of a language that is not one's own for decoration, tattoos, etc. But my dislike is not due to deep reasons -- it just seems sort of silly, and rife with possibilities for error.

Some people seem to do it because they find the letters of a language that uses a different alphabet pretty, or because not having it in one's own language somehow adds a layer of depth or mystery.

As a musician, I often see notes used that way -- if they are used correctly, I hear the tune in my head, much like a non-musician might at seeing words.

If not, I'm just mildly annoyed by the fact that what is portrayed couldn't possibly exist, and sometimes feel bad for the person who thinks it says something. An analogous situation for a non-musician might be seeing someone who is very proud of their tattoo or shirt, thinking it is hip, cool, or deep, and you see that it says "Bde+gyd,wDDDrtjeI;." :D

It just strikes me that, if one wants to make a statement with a framed word or tattoo, it's clearer if it is in the language you, and the people around you, understand. If it's notes, it seems it would be nice if it was a actually a tune that has meaning for the person.

I'm not horribly judgmental about it, though -- I can see how people look at musical symbols, or Hebrew letters or Chinese characters, and find the shapes attractive.

Just make sure your tattoo says "Courage" and not "Asshole." :lol:

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Dinorah

The thing about language is riduculous, aren't they aware that lots of yiddish derived terms have entered the English language already? That's what languages do, they influence each other. Would they have problems with someone like me, who's studied a little bit of Hebrew but isn't Jewish? And I get being bothered with, say, prayers, as tattoos, but otherwise why is it such a big deal? There's nothing intrinsically sacred in Hebrew, in Israel people use also to insult each other and talk about buying toilet paper.

The tone of the blog is a bit...juvenile. But I'm glad they don't seem to take kindly to Christian Zionists.

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Aggravated
keen23

I thought tattoos were pretty forbidden in Jewish culture, to the point where you could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you had a tattoo. But then again, I don't have a lot of knowledge of Jewish culture or customs.

Also, I think that "foreign language" tattoos are not the best idea in the world. Be they in Hebrew, kanji characters or even just Latin. If you are actually fluent in the language you choose to get tattoo'd in, that's one thing. But just randomly picking letters or symbols from a chart because of what the flash tattoo chart says they mean, you deserve to get a bad tattoo.

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GeoBQn
I thought tattoos were pretty forbidden in Jewish culture, to the point where you could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you had a tattoo. But then again, I don't have a lot of knowledge of Jewish culture or customs.

Also, I think that "foreign language" tattoos are not the best idea in the world. Be they in Hebrew, kanji characters or even just Latin. If you are actually fluent in the language you choose to get tattoo'd in, that's one thing. But just randomly picking letters or symbols from a chart because of what the flash tattoo chart says they mean, you deserve to get a bad tattoo.

This blog makes an excellent case against getting Hebrew tattoos (or any foreign language tattoos) if you aren't familiar with the language. My favorite is the guy who wanted a tattoo that says one of the names of G-d, but instead it says "god of the sea."

badhebrew.com/

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lagenialester
I thought tattoos were pretty forbidden in Jewish culture, to the point where you could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you had a tattoo. But then again, I don't have a lot of knowledge of Jewish culture or customs.

It's actually a pretty widely debated topic, and a common misconception that it's strictly forbidden to allow the burial of someone with a tattoo in a Jewish cemetery. I had a discussion with a good friend of mine regarding the topic, he also happens to be an Orthodox rabbi, and he basically told me that he wouldn't encourage it, but in the same way that someone who eats pork or dyes their hair (another way of "altering the body given to you by G-d") can still be buried in a Jewish cemetery. It's more of a practice that was started by certain cemeteries that became construed as an actual religious commandment. (That being said, the act of getting a tattoo is still against Jewish law.)

Anyway, I'm with everyone else on this, that the idea of this Tumblr is great, but the way in which it is conducted isn't right. I feel like if somebody called me out on something like that on the internet, and I was a person who arrogantly appropriated another culture in an insensitive way, I would just get mad at that person and do it anyway. And then complain about how I had a "right" to do that. I just don't see it accomplishing the goal they had originally set out to accomplish.

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Saoirse
I thought tattoos were pretty forbidden in Jewish culture, to the point where you could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you had a tattoo. But then again, I don't have a lot of knowledge of Jewish culture or customs.

A popular myth but a myth none the less. :)

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snarktastic

I didn't realise until I was an adult that words like 'kosher' (meaning legit) or nosh were 'Jewish', to my ears that's London slang and I still find it funny to hear an American use those words. The Dutch word for luck is 'mazel'. I bet modern Hebrew's stuffed with English loan words. TBH I think objecting to that kind of thing is a bit precious.

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crazyforkate

Not being a member of any of the groups that start these Tumblrs, I'm automatically on the wrong side, but I must say this seems unnecessarily vehement to me. There's a difference between calling out cultural appropriation - which many Tumblrs have done in a much better manner - and outright attacking others, which this Tumblr seems to be doing. Getting a tattoo in a language you don't speak is foolish and often culturally insensitive, but this Tumblr just seems over-the-top. The loan words thing is honestly ridiculous. You can explain insensitivity to others without...this.

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anniebgood
Not being a member of any of the groups that start these Tumblrs, I'm automatically on the wrong side, but I must say this seems unnecessarily vehement to me. There's a difference between calling out cultural appropriation - which many Tumblrs have done in a much better manner - and outright attacking others, which this Tumblr seems to be doing. Getting a tattoo in a language you don't speak is foolish and often culturally insensitive, but this Tumblr just seems over-the-top. The loan words thing is honestly ridiculous. You can explain insensitivity to others without...this.

The kiddo got tattoos in Elvish in 2 places. One reads strong and beautiful, and the other nerd love. If people are curious they ask, otherwise it's no big deal.

I was kind of surprised that they picked on Rachel Held Evans and her Year of Biblical Womanhood. It didn't diminish the laws, it made them more alive, even if she is Christian. And her Women of Valor, the women she has profiled deserve that appellation.

But then I'm a Lutheran who's had to endure Sven and Ole jokes even though I'm not Scandinavian.

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oil

Never mind. I dont care what they do.

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OnceModestTwiceShy

Since whoever runs that blog has decided that they can speak for Judaism, then I can too. Here, this random-ass Ashkanazi girl gives you permission to use Yiddish slang. You're welcome. :roll:

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gardenvarietycitizen
I am not sure what to think of that tumblr but I have a huge problem with this claim:

O-kay. The only language that doesn't change is a dead language. Yiddish is a fusion language, for example. What abou le weekend? Languages borrow from each others, I haven't heard before this it is somehow unacceptable. My first language isn't an Indo-European language, I have learned Yiddish words without knowing them. Will I stop using them? Nope. Sauna is an ancient Finnish word, with same logic, you shouldn't use it if you aren't Finnish!

Oh my...maybe I just don't get it. I understand problems with fake judaism and such but that a use of language is forbidden...

I thought that was pretty out there too - I suppose the poster doesn't realize that non-Jewish foreign workers (many from Asia) move to and live long term in Israel all the time, and yes they (and their kids!!!) speak Hebrew as their main language on a daily basis?

There are a lot of those "anti-cultural-appropriation" tumblrs that have this "don't you use my language" message on them, very often from people who themselves are born and raised in the US and don't even always speak the languages they're trying to defend themselves.

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gardenvarietycitizen
badhebrew.com/

Thanks for this!!! Surely everyone knows by now but there's a similar hilarious page out there for bad Asian-language tattoos: http://www.hanzismatter.blogspot.com/ .

I'm waiting for someone to get a tattoo in unicode for extra exoticness factor.

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Rachel333

Yeah, this seems like the kind of overly-aggressive social justice blog that have become too common and make the rest look bad. Most of them are about legitimate issues (though I recently discovered the "otherkin" phenomenon...), but they take it way too far.

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Emme
Since whoever runs that blog has decided that they can speak for Judaism, then I can too. Here, this random-ass Ashkanazi girl gives you permission to use Yiddish slang. You're welcome. :roll:

This second random-ass Ashkanazi agrees. Go forth and schmooze.

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jaelh

There are a lot of those "anti-cultural-appropriation" tumblrs that have this "don't you use my language" message on them, very often from people who themselves are born and raised in the US and don't even always speak the languages they're trying to defend themselves.

This, ++.

I lived for a number of years in a country with a significant refugee population in the west. A number of the children decided to "come back" to Vietnam. A subset of those that returned, did so because they were "Vietnamese", and returning would be a sort of resolution of identity.

But here's the thing.

They were ethnically Vietnamese.

But "Vietnamese", in the sense that Vietnamese, raised in Vietnam, understood "Vietnamese" (the identity) to be? Nope.

That understanding of "vietnamese" required growing up, in Vietnam - usually in poverty (esp in youth; doi moi was recent); a vietnamese education (not just in vietnamese, but also in the system that absolutely everyone learns under till 10th grade); vietnamese language as, not just a mother tongue but as the linga franca. "Vietnamese culture" and "the cultural practices of overseas Vietnamese" aren't the same, even though there are lots of commonalities. They were understood as "Viet Kieu" : overseas veitnamese, not as "vietnamese vietnamese".

Many had a very rough experience. The idea that I'm going "home" and when I get there, I'll no longer be an 'outsider', I'll be "normal" was - for some - a very powerful desire.

I imagine it's a pretty common experience across the board.

Some members of that group were so "sure of their vietnamese-ness" they went so far to to police understandings of, and the performance of Vietnamese culture. Even as understood and performed by local people. *Particularly* the "westernisation, or apparent "corruption" of Vietnamese culture. I remember of really lovely young American Vietnamese girl castigating a local friend who like to shop in malls, and regarded them as an improvement on markets. Markets were "Vietnamese". Malls were "western". She wasn't trying to be culturally imperialist (but damn, she was being so): she genuinely believed that "Vietnamese culture" had to be defended from dilution by Vietnamese people. It almost wasn't theirs - it was this abstract thing that existed separate from the people who performed it.

This is an extreme example, and most of those that arrived with this type of attitude mellowed enormously over a period of a few years. You had to adapt, or you'd go mad.

Within the group Im talking about, ethnic and cultural identity was fundamental to their understanding of who they were - and rightly so; many had awful experiences because of racial discrimination and assumptions. But this experience of race and culture was a minority experience is entirely different to a central ethnic and cultural identity as a member of a majority group. I think, for some, the barrage of negative experiences and assumptions primes people to defend "their culture", or at least, the culture that they identify as theirs.

I get the impression that many of the cultural appropriation blogs are written by people like those in this group. Not all, by any means, but many.

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amydamy

Oh, I see. That does make sense. Didn't know it was against Jewish law, I thought they were just trying to assert ownership a bit harshly. Thanks!

I'm pretty sure the "tattoo" in that picture is written in sharpie.

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