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fundiefun

Jewish Appropriation Tumblr

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2xx1xy1JD

I'm not saying that unions should never advocate beyond their immediate members' issues.

I am saying that advocating for their members is a core function.

Your average unionized postal worker or civil servant here depends on the union to protect wages and job security, to advocate for them if they get into a dispute with management, and is therefore pretty dependent upon the union. I know some workers who feel pressured to avoid actively offending their union rep, since they know that they may rely upon their assistance. Workers here also have mandatory dues deducted from their pay. Your average postal worker or civil servant is also busy with their job, not researching global issues. It's possible for a relatively small group of people to make an issue of something, when the grassroots members aren't particularly concerned about it.

My point was also that these unions do not exist for a purpose directly related to the Middle East. I'd expect a Palestinian group to focus on issues of concern to them. I'd expect Amnesty International to focus on issues of prisoners (which they do, looking at all countries). I would not naturally expect large organizations, which are not inherently connected to a particular cause, to single out one cause and one side for their international advocacy, while ignoring a whole host of other situations that would objectively be more worthy of attention.

ETA: I don't have issues with helping another groups of workers with practical assistance - that's just an issue for the union membership.

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Arete

Where I live, people use terms like "Asian-American", "Jewish-American" to denigrate someone and imply they're not a real American. Do you call people those terms? Please, no linguistics lesson, I'm not interested in facts, because my local culture is clearly the world / the ones who can redefine a word.

(The fact that some people use a word as a slur doesn't necessarily make it a slur. In the case of Shiksa, I understand enough people have taken it up for that to be associated, so I'm using a new word for referring to goyische women. Shame on the people where you live for turning a term into misogyny. The same thig has been done to Maven and so many other good terms- so sick of being unable to have any terms including my gender without them being used to smear women. )

Not so fast. Not just my "local" culture. Ultra-orthodox Jews have been known to chase down Jewish women who they felt were not up to their modesty standards and screamed that epithet at them. In Israel. So we aren't just talking about a perfectly good word that happened to be corrupted by the conservodox of northern NJ. :roll:

I will describe people as Asian Americans or Jewish Americans, when the conversation goes to cultural background. If I was going to call another woman a tramp, I would call her a tramp and own my words. I wouldn't try and pretend that tramp is not a slur and I wasn't using it in such a way.

I don't like when people try to get coy about their bigotry or misogyny by hiding behind certain words or phrases.

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Arete

And yes, the food posts were jokes.

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2xx1xy1JD

Not so fast. Not just my "local" culture. Ultra-orthodox Jews have been known to chase down Jewish women who they felt were not up to their modesty standards and screamed that epithet at them. In Israel. So we aren't just talking about a perfectly good word that happened to be corrupted by the conservodox of northern NJ. :roll:

I will describe people as Asian Americans or Jewish Americans, when the conversation goes to cultural background. If I was going to call another woman a tramp, I would call her a tramp and own my words. I wouldn't try and pretend that tramp is not a slur and I wasn't using it in such a way.

I don't like misogyny or people who try to get cute with their bigotry by hiding behind certain words or phrases.

Part of the issue is the very fact that Yiddish was used as a code-language.

If you are a native speaker of a language, and you use a word to describe someone in your own language, that's not offensive - that's you speaking your language.

If, however, you speak English, and you are having a conversation in English, and you only pull out a Yiddish word to refer to an outsider behind their back - well, chances are, you don't mean to use the word in a good way. That's why shiksa and shvartze are now considered to be derogatory, even though it may have been non-offensive for someone's great-grandmother to use those terms.

Re food posts:

For the most part I was joking....but not entirely.

I can see it being offensive if the only thing that you acknowledge about someone's culture is their food. I won't pretend that eating dim sum makes me an expert on all things Chinese. It's a bit patronizing when multiculturalism is praised for providing a wider variety of restaurants. That's one aspect, but not really what the whole concept is about.

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oil

To Tivka, what are you afraid of if any body take Jewish ways or wearing Magen David? I dont understand.

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thoughtful

If you are a native speaker of a language, and you use a word to describe someone in your own language, that's not offensive - that's you speaking your language.

If, however, you speak English, and you are having a conversation in English, and you only pull out a Yiddish word to refer to an outsider behind their back - well, chances are, you don't mean to use the word in a good way. That's why shiksa and shvartze are now considered to be derogatory, even though it may have been non-offensive for someone's great-grandmother to use those terms.

This.

In a post earlier in this thread, I made a point of saying that I never heard the words goy, shiksa or sheygitz used in any other way than as an insult. Perhaps there are areas of the world where they are not, but I don't know of them.

Goynif folks, if you want to insult non-Jews, go for it -- not my problem, or my business to ask you to stop. However, I find the posts on your site saying that those are just neutral words, or defending them as coming from our culture, a bit disingenuous.

Besides my lack of experience of those words as ever being neutral, I have noticed that the words surrounding those three are generally in English. If a whole post is in English, those words stand out, and it is hard not to see them as standing out as an insult. If that's how people there mean them, they might want to own it.

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2xx1xy1JD

Let me give an concrete example to show why I think it's dangerous to suggest that there is ownership of religious symbols.

Yesterday, I was listening to a rabbi who started off talking about Shavuot, and somehow got around to talking about the holiness of Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount and Western Wall. Ok, fine, whatever. Then, he started talking about he's not going to tell anyone how to practice their religion....but the Western Wall, that's sacred, don't mess with tradition for the sake of a political agenda, we've got to fight against that, etc.

Now, he didn't mention them by name, but I got the sense that he was referring to the Women of the Wall and the Sharansky report (which recommends expanding the existing Robinson's Arch archeological area, providing access from the main Western Wall area and having both a traditional and an egalitarian prayer area).

In the past, I've heard similar arguments made against having the Jerusalem Pride Parade. "Fine, do what you want in Tel Aviv, but Jerusalem is our sacred city and you are deliberately pushing an agenda in an offensive way".

So, this is where the alarm bells go off for me, and why I think that it's more than an academic issue. If using Jewish languages or symbols is "stealing", then that suggests that they are owned, and that in turn suggests that someone is an "owner" who has the right to control access. Once you adopt that paradigm, you can't always control where it goes. Although they don't use the term "cultural appropriation", that's very much how much of the Orthodox world views any move toward egalitarianism. They follow the view of Rabbi Moses Feinstein, who ruled against it since women today were likely wanting to do certain things not out of genuine religious conviction, but in order to make a feminist statement. Since then, "it is forbidden since they are just doing it to make a feminist point" has become the automatic response, even though the actual ruling of Rabbi Feinstein mentioned that women wearing a tallit was NOT automatically forbidden if it was done with appropriate intention.

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2xx1xy1JD

Re tichels:

Can Tikva or anyone else show me proof that "tichel" isn't just the Yiddish word for scarf, and that it a specifically Jewish style of haircovering which is distinct from those of other religions? Can they show that any distinction isn't a modern trend, and that it is more than 100 years old?

From my research, there are references to hair covering for women in Jewish texts - but they aren't that specific about the exact form. We have historical evidence, photos, etc. of a variety of means: hats, wigs, scarves tied under the chin, snoods, etc. In many cases, they matched the forms used in the surrounding societies (Muslim, Russian Orthodox, etc.).

If you have a historical source that says otherwise, please provide it.

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2xx1xy1JD

To give some credit where credit is due - the post snarking on the conflicted libertarian was excellent.

I may not care about tichels and Yiddish words - but I do have issues with someone saying "hey, Jews managed to become rich even though they were persecuted, so minorities should stop whining".

Seriously, do some fucking research.

The one silver lining to some of the oppression was that it caused people like my great-grandparents to immigrate to North America, just as it was industrializing and the urban economy was growing. Holocaust survivors happened to arrive just in time for the post-war economic boom. That doesn't erase the fact that real suffering took place to force people to become refugees in the first place.

It doesn't erase the fact that poverty did not magically disappear overnight. According to New York's Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the infant mortality rate was 50%.

If you want to listen to the real stories from the sources, take note of how going through oppression actually spurred a great deal of social activism. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire galvanized the labor movements, and Jews played a major role in the garment workers' unions. There was also a major role in Second Wave feminism, the NAACP and civil rights movement, the ACLU, etc. The lesson from oppression, for many, was not "other groups should quit whining".

Jews did not ignore discrimination. They challenged it, until restrictive covenants preventing them from buying property in some areas were struck down, until discrimination was no longer legal in employment, etc. Many older Jews today were the victims of discriminatory policies, and some of those actions still affect people. They started advocacy groups, like the ADL. They developed strategies to deal with discrimination, like starting their own businesses or firms, and even establishing hospitals where Jewish medical residents could train, as a way around employment restrictions.

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Soldevi
Re tichels:

Can Tikva or anyone else show me proof that "tichel" isn't just the Yiddish word for scarf, and that it a specifically Jewish style of haircovering which is distinct from those of other religions? Can they show that any distinction isn't a modern trend, and that it is more than 100 years old?

From my research, there are references to hair covering for women in Jewish texts - but they aren't that specific about the exact form. We have historical evidence, photos, etc. of a variety of means: hats, wigs, scarves tied under the chin, snoods, etc. In many cases, they matched the forms used in the surrounding societies (Muslim, Russian Orthodox, etc.).

If you have a historical source that says otherwise, please provide it.

This is exactly what I have been waiting for the whole time. They haven't answered for my question of Spanish hijab either. Basically one can tie a scarf in the nape of one's neck or under chin and everything else is just a variation with one or more layers of cloth. Turban style from the 17th century (Louise Moillon): http://womeninthearts.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/moillon-1.jpg Shouldn't European protestants use the style even if it was in use already centuries ago?

Maybe styles called the bun or the butterfly or a variation of turban style are more recognisable as a sign of a particular group in Israel or in the US. But here in the Northern Europe a jew is not the first word people think when they see a covered head. Trust me, here in my country the most common answer would be...hippie! :lol:

And yes...if a tichel is just a word for a piece of cloth and names of food are allowed to use...contradiction, much?

I am all for calling out shity thing like fake judaism, stupid tattoos and such but I will not understand this whole scarf episode. One of their post was about another blogger who promoted web shops selling scarfs. Umm...so? They can't seem to decide whether it is wrong to cover their head and call a scarf tichel or if it is just wrong to use a word tichel.

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2xx1xy1JD

As far as I could tell from recent posts, it was specifically the use of the Yiddish word tichel that seemed to set them off.

I don't, however, see anything wrong with telling someone looking for headscarves online to google "tichel". It's a piece of cloth, period. The piece of cloth is not a religious item. Using the term doesn't necessarily mean that someone is pretending to be Jewish. It may simply be an easier way of saying, "ya know, those square cloth thingies, pretty thin, sometimes with a bit of fringe or a nice pattern, that you can fold into a triangle and tie on your head"?

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jaelh

I don't, however, see anything wrong with telling someone looking for headscarves online to google "tichel".

I did just that.

Amusingly enough - Lina appears as image number 4. it appears the image was swiped from her blog and is now hosted elsewhere.

The connections! they are everywhere!

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salex
Oh, and forgot to say - a BA in genocide studies is pretty cool. There ought to be a club for those of us who do/will do/did Weird Shit at Uni. :)

There is-- it is called the Faculty Lounge in the liberal arts department of your local university.

:character-afro: :character-blues: :character-daphne: :character-fred: :character-burgerking:

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Peas n carrots

Rivka, thanks for coming on here to answer questions.

My husband is not Jewish, but works for a Jewish non-profit that raises millions a year for educational services that are offered not only to Jewish youth but youth of all backgrounds.

The organization has been especially good to my husband, who took a chance and hired an immigrant with no US work experience and has promoted him over the past 4 years.

Upon reuniting with family that I hadn't had contact with over the past 25 years I have found I have Jewish ancestry myself (though it is on my father's side).

We out up a menorah during Channukah. We don't do any of the other celebratory aspects such as spinning the dreidel but we like to have it up to acknowledge our respect.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that sometimes appropriation can be a form of flattery. My husband will occasionally drop a Yiddish slang word not out of conscious effort but because he is immersed in a community that uses the slang. You might likely find us disgusting for some of the customs and symbols we have integrated into our lives, but I would like to hear your thoughts on what you deem as OK to appropriate and why.

I'm not trying to snark, it's just an honest question as I'm trying to understand your point of view.

Edited: damn you autocorrect!

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