Monday, 14 August 2017

The Origins of Shikse Shambles

Five years ago, at the tender age of 21, I went through my 'older man phase.' This is a rite of passage many women go through in their 20s. His name was along the lines of, let's say, Larry Weinstein, and he was from New York. As we met and then broke up whilst traveling, there was no chance for either of us to meet the parents.

One night while we were in a hotel room in Paris, he decided to have a rare Skype chat with his mother. He tried to keep in touch with his mother as little as possible. As I finished my shower and toweled off, I overheard a voice not dissimilar to that of Mel Brooks ask 'So how's that shikse of yours going?' This was followed by my frustrated boyfriend's response of, 'Mom, her name is Sophie.' He sounded a lot like Leonard from the Big Bang Theory- just imagine hearing him say that.

And that is how I learned of the word 'shikse'. Whenever I relay this story to Jewish people, the response is usually 'That's not nice.' But like Randall from Clerks II tried to do with the slur 'Porchmonkey,' I'm taking 'shikse' back.

I thought it would seem appropriate to take it back through making a blog about moving to Israel, but in all truth, the fact that I'm shikse now is less relevant than the two occasions in which I dated Jewish men.

Nobody here in Tel Aviv gives a shit. This is a city of tattoos, pet dogs, stray cats, weed and scantily clad men and women. The cultural diversity is such that my blonde hair, blue eyes and pale skin are not enough to make me stand out. People address me in Hebrew before I tell them I can only speak English. Then they just assume that I'm American.

Furthermore, I am surrounded by foreign students who are from more exotic places than me. And so I was forced to concede that I am not as special as I thought I was. Although, I have only met one other Australian in the weeks since I arrived, so there's always that.

Unfortunately I had already come up with the name 'Shikse Shambles' before I came to Israel, and I am too proud of my skill in alliteration to give it up.

Hence, welcome to Shikse Shambles! The blog that follows the trials and tribulations of your basic white 20-something Australian as she tries to make it in the Holy Land.

In the interests of objectivity, I feel obliged to put forth a few details about me:

  • I am an atheist. I was baptized Catholic so that I could possibly get into a Catholic school, but my parents sent me to state school anyway.
  • I am from a predominantly white, upper-middle class area of Sydney, Australia.
  • I have been familiar with Jewish people for most of my life. The area in which I grew up had a high Jewish population, most of whom emigrated from South Africa in the 90s. Generally they stuck to their own but I still played weekend sport with them.
  • I have been reading about the Holocaust since I was 11 years old and read the Diary of Anne Frank. It paved the way for my eventual graduation with a degree in Modern History.
  • I am pro-Zionist to the extent of what was laid out in the Oslo Accords.
  • I would probably never convert to Judaism for a man, unless we planned to make a life in Israel.
So whatever I write, take it with these grains of salt.

The Origins of Shikse Shambles

Five years ago, at the tender age of 21, I went through my 'older man phase.' This is a rite of passage many women go through in the...