What it means, to "Jew"

December 1, 2009
By Maria Underwood BRONZE, Glendale, Arizona
Maria Underwood BRONZE, Glendale, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Is it surprising that today, the word “Jew” is still thrown around to describe something much like the word “idiot” would be used? Sadly, it’s not. The negative connotation of the word “Jew” is typically what most people use it for today, because that is how the word is used in pop culture. Though the word Jew was not always equivalent to the word “stupid”, that is what its most recent definition is. But why is “Jew” the most common religious name to be used as an insult? It has not always been that way, so why did “Jew” end up becoming a slur?
“Yid” is the Yiddish word for “Jew”. Though it used to be considered an ethnic slur, today it is a word to refer to a Jewish person in a positive way. Yid is a word of praise to Jews currently, saying how upstanding and religious that person was. “Yid” went from a negative connotation to a positive one, a complete opposite direction of what the word “Jew” in English did, though technically the English version was more neutral at first rather than positive.
However, due to today’s technology and entertainment, the word “Jew” is typically used as an insult to someone else. TV shows like Family Guy and South Park contribute it to running jokes in the series; in Family Guy all these supposedly great guys are Jewish and turn out to be not exactly what was expected, and in South Park it’s just an insult to a character in the show that’s Jewish. Although these shows use it in a satirical way, the people watching use the term “Jew” as an insult more often than a joking manner.
History has also made the word “Jew” a negative one; being one around the 1930s in Europe meant that you were an unwanted race, and better off exterminated. During the September 11th attack on the Twin Towers in New York, one of the reasons the terrorists flew into the two buildings was because Jewish people worked there. And even way back in history, Jews have been kicked out of what they believed was their promised land multiple times, and have not been accepted into other societies simply because they did not believe the same things of the region’s religion. The stereotypes of being greedy gave the Jews a bad reputation, after all, no one would entrust something of importance to a greedy, self-centered person. The Jewish people have been persecuted throughout time and have been given negative attributes to describe them, which is why now it’s used as an insult.
And despite people’s different views on religion, Jews are actually no different than any other person. They’re all human, they all live, they all have a word that classifies them based on what they believe or where they’re from. As a group, someone can’t say that because one Jew that they know is greedy and hordes all his money away means that every single Jew is exactly the same. That also doesn’t mean that all Jews are the Yiddish definition of the word, a kind, good-natured individual. There’s a mix of all different kinds of people in each religion, and they should not all be considered based off a single individual.
Referring to someone as a Jew should not be considered as an insult like it is now. It should just be a way to classify a person by their religious beliefs. Even though as time goes on the meaning of more words than just one changes from the multiple influences of the world, that doesn’t mean that the new meaning should just be another term to add into a person’s insult dictionary. Overall, the word Jew should only be used in the same way someone should use the word Christian: a way to describe another individual based on religion. “Yeah, that guy is a Jew; his family is celebrating Passover tonight.”


The author's comments:
Being Jewish, I've always been pretty proud to admit it. It's just that the meaning of the word "Jew" has changed so much, and it's no longer just a religious name, but an insult.

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This article has 5 comments.


giyoreli said...
on May. 20 2016 at 10:20 pm
giyoreli, Plano, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Yikes... someone needs to tone down the proselytizing.... Judaism is an 'ethnoreligion' so it's not a race, but an ethnicity and a religion (ethnicity differs from race, google it i'm tired of explaining). Not all Ethiopians are Jews but Ethiopian Jews exist, as do Palestinian Jews, Indian Jews, and Nigerian Jews. Jews exist everywhere, that's a result of diaspora. I absolutely agree that African and Black Jews are ignored but if you think that you can act like you're being sympathetic to Ethiopian Jews and then use them to explain why their religion is 'a bunch of none religious idiots' and pretend to be their saviour, you're dead wrong. I have not the slightest idea what you're trying to communicate in the middle, but if you're trying to explain where using 'Jew' as an insult came from, that's incorrect. That simply arose early in the diaspora in Europe from scapegoating, usually accusing Jewish people of being greedy or stealing (you know, the kind of stuff people still accuse us of today). I don't agree with Israel but I am in no means required to tell you that so I can prove myself a 'good Jew'. And don't pretend you care about Palestine if you're using it as a cheap bargaining peace and slandering Jewish people all around the world who have nothing to do with Israel because of it. And I have no idea how you can be able to say that 'the word Jew has lost its purpose', that's an inter-community issue and something for us to decide, not for you. So take yourself and your anti-semitic opinions and proselytizing and get out of here.

on Jan. 24 2010 at 8:24 am
AnnWhitney SILVER, Andover, Minnesota
7 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Nothing is certain but death and taxes"
Benjamin Franklin

Judaism was founded before Christianity .

on Jan. 14 2010 at 4:57 pm
the_Horsegirl SILVER, Minneapolis, Minnesota
8 articles 0 photos 119 comments

Favorite Quote:
People need dreams, there's as much nourishment in 'em as food.
--Dorothy Gilman

If there is such a thing as truth, it is as intricate and hidden as a crown of feathers.
--Isaac Bashevis Singer

As a Jew, I found what you said extremely insulting. Though I am not very observant, I consider myself religious, as would most other Jews that I know. Judaism is not in any way meant to be a mockery to your, or anyone else's, religion or god. Please, before you belittle and insult other people religions and cultures think of how it would feel if you were them... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," that's what the bible says, isn't it?

on Dec. 18 2009 at 9:19 am
I totally agree with your post not only the term Jew is use as an insult but also as a race. Judaism is not a race it’s a religion. The term "Jew" came from the name of Jacob's fourth son, Judah, Yehudah, and was applied only to Judah's descendents; consist of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The tribes split into two kingdoms Judah with Benjamin and Levites with some prophets. Palestine’s and Ethiopians were also Jews.
Just like the “Jews of Israel”, Ethiopian Jews were also persecuted however no one mentions or talk about it. Operations Solomon, Moses and Joshua, 36,000 Ethiopian Jews were rescued from Ethiopia after the Beta wanted to draw a linage, the Ethiopian Jews were used for bargain and some were murdered. The 36,000 that were rescued are living in Israel.
Most Jews in the Middle East are oppressed by Muslims and changed their religion. Some converted to Muslim because of the ignorance of the West, they felt like the rest of the world associated Judaism to a race of people born in Israel and not a religion. Others converted simply because they hate Israel who they claim too have stolen their land. Because they did not want to be associated with Judaism especially in today’s society where ignorance seems to be on a rise, the word “Jew” is now referred to only certain group of people as a race and not a religion.
The word Jew has lost its meaning any idiot can claim to be a Jew without being familiar with the meaning, religion or the real concept behind it. Judaism is no longer a religion it has become a race of people a bunch of none religious idiots. The word Jew has lost it purpose and meaning it’s no longer a religion it’s a joke, mockery an insult to God and the Lord Jesus Christ our savior. Let it go accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savoir and move on!!!

on Dec. 18 2009 at 9:07 am
I totally agree with your post not only the term Jew is use for an insult but also as a race. Judaism is not a race it’s a religion. The term "Jew" came from the name of Jacob's fourth son, Judah, Yehudah, and was applied only to Judah's descendents; consist of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The tribes split into two kingdoms Judah with Benjamin and Levites with some prophets. Palestine’s and Ethiopians were also Jews.
Just like the “Jews of Israel”, Ethiopian Jews were also persecuted however no one mentions or talk about it. Operations Solomon, Moses and Joshua, 36,000 Ethiopian Jews were rescued from Ethiopia after the Beta wanted to draw a linage, the Ethiopian Jews were used for bargain and some were murdered. The 36,000 that were rescued are living in Israel.
Most Jews in the Middle East are oppressed by Muslims and most change their religion. Some converted to Muslim became of the ignorance of the West, they felt like the rest of the world associated Judaism to a race of people born in Israel and not a religion. Others converted simply because they hate Israel who they claim stole their land. Therefore they did not want to be or have any ties with Judaism. In today’s society where ignorance seems to be on a rise the word “Jew” is referred to only certain group of people as a race and not a religion. The word Jew has lost its meaning any idiot can claim to be a Jew without being familiar with the meaning or the real concept behind it. Judaism is no longer a religion it has become a race of people a bunch of none religious idiots. The word Jew has lost it purpose and meaning it’s no longer a religion it’s a joke, mockery an insult to the God and the Lord Jesus Christ out savior. Let it go accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savoir and move on!!!


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