The most commonly used word for a non-Jew is goy. The word "goy" means " nation ," and refers to the fact that goyim are members of other nations, that is, nations other than the Children of Israel. There is nothing inherently insulting about the word "goy. Because Jews have had so many bad experiences with anti-Semitic non-Jews over the centuries, the term "goy" has taken on some negative connotations, but in general the term is no more insulting than the word "gentile.
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The more insulting terms for non-Jews are shiksa feminine and shkutz masculine. I gather that these words are derived from the Hebrew root Shin-Qof-Tzadei, meaning loathsome or abomination. The word shiksa is most commonly used to refer to a non-Jewish woman who is dating or married to a Jewish man, which should give some indication of how strongly Jews are opposed to the idea of intermarriage.
The term shkutz is most commonly used to refer to an anti-Semitic man. Both terms can be used in a less serious, more joking way, but in general they should be used with caution.
If you are offended to hear that Jewish culture has a negative term for non-Jews, I would recommend that you stop and think about the many negative terms and stereotypes that your culture has for Jews. I once received a message from a man who told me that many Jews do not like gentiles. He knew this because his Jewish girlfriend's friends and parents disapproved of him. I explained that these people did not disapprove of him because he was Christian; they disapproved of him because he was a Christian dating a Jew, which is another issue altogether.
Traditional Judaism does not permit interfaith marriages. The Torah states that the children of such marriages would be lost to Judaism Deut. The National Jewish Population Survey found that only a third of interfaith couples raise their children Jewish, despite increasing efforts in the Reform and Conservative communities to welcome interfaith couples.
This may reflect the fact that Jews who intermarry are not deeply committed to their religion in the first place: Certainly, the statistics show that intermarried Jews are overwhelmingly less likely to be involved in Jewish activities: These statistics and more are sufficiently alarming to be a matter of great concern to the Jewish community.
And the rate of intermarriage has grown dramatically in recent years: One Orthodox Jew I know went so far as to state that intermarriage is accomplishing what Hitler could not: That is an extreme view, but it vividly illustrates how seriously many Jews take the issue of intermarriage. The more liberal branches of Judaism have tried to embrace intermarried couples, hoping to slow the hemorrhaging from our community, but it is questionable how effective this has been in stemming the tide, given the statistics that intermarried couples are unlikely to have any Jewish involvement or to raise their children Jewish.
They note that if the non-Jewish spouse truly shares the same values as the Jewish spouse, then the non-Jew is welcome to convert to Judaism, and if the non-Jew does not share the same values, then the couple should not be marrying in the first place.
Many people who are considering interfaith marriage or dating casually dismiss any objections as prejudice, but there are some practical matters you should consider. And before you casually dismiss this as ivory tower advice from a Jewish ghetto, let me point out that my father, my mother and my brother are all intermarried, as well as several of my cousins.
These are just a few of the more important considerations in interfaith relationships that people tend to gloss over in the heat of passion or in the desire to be politically fashionable. In general, Jews do not try to convert non-Jews to Judaism. In fact, according to halakhah Jewish Law , rabbis are supposed to make three vigorous attempts to dissuade a person who wants to convert to Judaism.
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As the discussion above explained, Jews have a lot of responsibilities that non-Jews do not have. To be considered a good and righteous person in the eyes of G-d , a non-Jew need only follow the seven Noahic commandments, whereas a Jew has to follow all commandments given in the Torah. If the potential convert is not going to follow those extra rules, it's better for him or her to stay a gentile, and since we as Jews are all responsible for each other, it's better for us too if that person stayed a gentile. The rabbinically mandated attempt to dissuade a convert is intended to make sure that the prospective convert is serious and willing to take on all this extra responsibility.
Once a person has decided to convert, the proselyte must begin to learn Jewish religion, law and customs and begin to observe them. It is an act of immense significance, which requires commitment and responsibility. The requirement of marriage before sex ensures that sense of commitment and responsibility.
Jewish law also forbids sexual contact short of intercourse outside of the context of marriage, recognizing that such contact will inevitably lead to intercourse. The primary purpose of sex is to reinforce the loving marital bond between husband and wife. The first and foremost purpose of marriage is companionship, and sexual relations play an important role. Procreation is also a reason for sex, but it is not the only reason. Sex between husband and wife is permitted even recommended at times when conception is impossible, such as when the woman is pregnant, after menopause, or when the woman is using a permissible form of contraception.
In the Torah , the word used for sex between husband and wife comes from the root Yod-Dalet-Ayin, meaning "to know," which vividly illustrates that proper Jewish sexuality involves both the heart and mind, not merely the body. Nevertheless, Judaism does not ignore the physical component of sexuality. The need for physical compatibility between husband and wife is recognized in Jewish law. A Jewish couple must meet at least once before the marriage , and if either prospective spouse finds the other physically repulsive, the marriage is forbidden. Sex should only be experienced in a time of joy.
Sex for selfish personal satisfaction, without regard for the partner's pleasure, is wrong and evil. A man may never force his wife to have sex. A couple may not have sexual relations while drunk or quarreling. Sex may never be used as a weapon against a spouse, either by depriving the spouse of sex or by compelling it. It is a serious offense to use sex or lack thereof to punish or manipulate a spouse. Sex is the woman's right, not the man's. A man has a duty to give his wife sex regularly and to ensure that sex is pleasurable for her.
He is also obligated to watch for signs that his wife wants sex, and to offer it to her without her asking for it. The woman's right to sexual intercourse is referred to as onah, and it is one of a wife's three basic rights the others are food and clothing , which a husband may not reduce. The Talmud specifies both the quantity and quality of sex that a man must give his wife.
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It specifies the frequency of sexual obligation based on the husband's occupation, although this obligation can be modified in the ketubah marriage contract. A man may not take a vow to abstain from sex for an extended period of time, and may not take a journey for an extended period of time, because that would deprive his wife of sexual relations. In addition, a husband's consistent refusal to engage in sexual relations is grounds for compelling a man to divorce his wife, even if the couple has already fulfilled the halakhic obligation to procreate.
Although sex is the woman's right, she does not have absolute discretion to withhold it from her husband. A woman may not withhold sex from her husband as a form of punishment, and if she does, the husband may divorce her without paying the substantial divorce settlement provided for in the ketubah.
Although some sources take a more narrow view, the general view of halakhah is that any sexual act that does not involve sh'chatat zerah destruction of seed, that is, ejaculation outside the vagina is permissible. As one passage in the Talmud states, "a man may do whatever he pleases with his wife.
Any stories you may have heard about Jewish sex occurring through a hole in a sheet are purely an urban legend. One of the most mysterious areas of Jewish sexual practices is the law of niddah, separation of husband and wife during the woman's menstrual period. These laws are also known as taharat ha-mishpachah, family purity. Few people outside of the Orthodox community are even aware that these laws exist, which is unfortunate, because these laws provide many undeniable benefits.
The laws of niddah are not deliberately kept secret; they are simply unknown because most non-Orthodox Jews do not continue their religious education beyond bar mitzvah , and these laws address subjects that are not really suitable for discussion with children under the age of According to the Torah , a man is forbidden from having sexual intercourse with a niddah, that is, a menstruating woman.
This is part of the extensive laws of ritual purity described in the Torah. At one time, a large portion of Jewish law revolved around questions of ritual purity and impurity. The law of niddah is the only law of ritual purity that continues to be observed today; all of the other laws applied only when the Temple was in existence, but are not applicable today. The time of separation begins at the first sign of blood and ends in the evening of the woman's seventh "clean day. The Torah prohibits only sexual intercourse, but the rabbis broadened this prohibition, maintaining that a man may not even touch his wife or sleep in the same bed as her during this time.
Weddings must be scheduled carefully, so that the woman is not in a state of niddah on her wedding night. At the end of the period of niddah, as soon as possible after nightfall after the seventh clean day, the woman must immerse herself in a kosher mikvah, a ritual pool. The mikvah was traditionally used to cleanse a person of various forms of ritual impurity. Today, it is used primarily for this purpose and as part of the ritual of conversion , though in some communities observant men periodically immerse themselves for reasons of ritual purity.
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It is important to note that the mikvah provides only ritual purification, not physical cleanliness; in fact, immersion in the mikvah is not valid unless the woman is thoroughly bathed before immersion. The mikvah is such an important part of traditional Jewish ritual life that traditionally a new community would build a mikvah before they would build a synagogue. The Torah does not specify the reason for the laws of niddah, but this period of abstention has both physical and psychological benefits. The fertility benefits of this practice are obvious and undeniable.
In fact, it is remarkable how closely these laws parallel the advice given by medical professionals today. When couples are having trouble conceiving, modern medical professionals routinely advise them to abstain from sex during the two weeks around a woman's period to increase the man's sperm count at a time when conception is not possible , and to have sex on alternate nights during the remaining two weeks.
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