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Use of the word 'Jew'


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#1 Silent J

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:43 AM

From an email I received:

Shalom!

I recently registered on your forum as ******** and would like to
ask a question about the use of the word "Jew." Is it offensive? Would
the average Jewish person be offended by a non-Jewish person using it
in an educational setting? Here's why I'm asking:

I teach students at Ulsan University (South Korea) and they often
replace Z with J. The Korean language doesn't have Z, so instead of
saying crazy zipper, they would say crajy jipper. In my first year
here, I had a student earnestly tell me they didn't like Jews because
they smelled bad. I was shocked at how random and rude the sentence
was until I realized they meant "zoos" smelled bad.

Currently, I'm making a pronunciation worksheet that shows contrasting
words (called minimal pairs) with Z and J. One of the pairs I'd like
to include is zoos and Jews. I would simply avoid it if it weren't so
common, but that isn't the case. The worksheets will be available to
ESL educators and students around the world (it'll probably come up on
a Google search after being posted).

If you're wondering how I found you, I typed "Jewish forum" into
Google and you were the first link. I have a somewhat Jewish friend,
but he doesn't care about anything except self-deprecation, so I
thought it safest to ask someone else. I'd like to ask on your forum
where and if appropriate, but I'd be all right with you responding
directly as well.


All the best to you and your forum,


What do you think?
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#2 Pinchas

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:59 AM

Didn't read the whole thing but why doesn't it post here himself?

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For the record, IRL he is a really nice guy! - HappyDuck, Z"L


#3 Yudi

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:15 AM

Using the word ‘Jew’ as he is proposing, as an example in an educational setting to explain how Koreans not having the sound ‘z’ replace it with ‘j’ should not be a problem or seen as offensive.

The word ‘Jew’ is a proper term. However, as we know, the word ‘Jew’ can be used in a derogatory way through the tone and context in which it is used. But, it is not being used derogatively by this teacher.

#4 33948

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 12:58 PM

I have never known the word 'Jew' to be considered offensive.

#5 paganyid

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 08:49 PM

Interesting linguistic problem. Nice of him to check with us about it. I say let him use it...
How about "zones" and "jones" or
"zip" and "***" oops same problem
zap and jap, no that doesnt work
zany and janie
buzz and budge

#6 Pinchas

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:16 AM

I have never known the word 'Jew' to be considered offensive.


So you'd have no problem if someone said to you... "33948, you're such a Jew!"

Pinchas is right - micha

 

For the record, IRL he is a really nice guy! - HappyDuck, Z"L


#7 Yudi

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:58 AM

I have never known the word 'Jew' to be considered offensive.


It's the difference between someone saying lightly and curiously "Oh, you're a Jew?" vs a snarling "Oh, you're a Jew!" It's all in the intent, tone, and context.

Some countries like the USA have derogatory words that refer to Jews. Countries which don't will tend to use the word 'Jew' as a derogatory term in itself. That's why many Jews don't like to use the word 'Jew' but prefer to use 'Jewish', which appears as a much more acceptable term, and without any negative connotations.

#8 33948

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:55 PM

So you'd have no problem if someone said to you... "33948, you're such a Jew!"


I forgot about that. Yeah I guess that is an insult. In the context of a school text or something I don't see how it would be offensive. But I guess I don't know anything.

I think usually if somebody calls you a Jew in that context they don't mean it literally. It usually means a person is cheap or tight with money. It's like how any ethnicity can be n word rich.

#9 Rivka5768

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:51 AM

Isn't it more accurate to say "Hebrew"? I don't get where the word "Jew" even comes from?

#10 Pinchas

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:30 AM

Actually "Israel" would be even a better name than "Hebrew." "Hebrew" in Hebrew actually means something like "wanderer" or "passing through." But "Israel" was the name G-d gave Jacob via Esau's angel (Jacob's sons would therefore be the founding tribes of the nation of Israel.)

Jew is short for Judah... who was the largest tribe of Israel. 10 out of 12 tribes split off from the rest of the nation when they couldn't tolerate the leadership (hmm...reminds me of a recent message board split up). Those ten became known as the kingdom of Israel while the two tribes that remained were Judah and Benjamin which became known as the Kingdom of Judaya. In a nutshell, today the ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel are "lost" and all that remains of the Jewish people are from the Kingdom of Judah...hence Jews.

Pinchas is right - micha

 

For the record, IRL he is a really nice guy! - HappyDuck, Z"L


#11 Rivka5768

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:38 AM

Actually "Israel" would be even a better name than "Hebrew." "Hebrew" in Hebrew actually means something like "wanderer" or "passing through." But "Israel" was the name G-d gave Jacob via Esau's angel (Jacob's sons would therefore be the founding tribes of the nation of Israel.)

Jew is short for Judah... who was the largest tribe of Israel. 10 out of 12 tribes split off from the rest of the nation when they couldn't tolerate the leadership (hmm...reminds me of a recent message board split up). Those ten became known as the kingdom of Israel while the two tribes that remained were Judah and Benjamin which became known as the Kingdom of Judaya. In a nutshell, today the ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel are "lost" and all that remains of the Jewish people are from the Kingdom of Judah...hence Jews.


Gotcha :) and very fascinating. May I ask what is the original variant of the names "Jacob" and "Isaac"? I've learned my name is actually "Rivka" and I've been trying to learn the original story of my name (among other things).

Rivka-Toldot 5768 got a more vivid picture of her story :)

#12 Rivka5768

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:47 AM

Also to the person that said the USA has a lot of derogatory names for jews, this is true, but I want to say that my "quest" to learn about Judaism has been nearly impossible. The info is just not out there. I don't even know where to find a jew to ask questions except on the internet lol! Everyone is so focused on hating Muslims right now. That's the current hate trend in the US.

#13 Pinchas

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:14 AM

Jacob is Yaakov.

Issac is Yitzchok.

Also see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism

Pinchas is right - micha

 

For the record, IRL he is a really nice guy! - HappyDuck, Z"L


#14 Rivka5768

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 06:01 AM

How did Yitzchock turn into Isaac? lol thank you :)

#15 Pinchas

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 07:18 AM

Yitzchak rather.

"Yi" is the equivalent of "I"
"tz" is "sa"
"ch" has not english equivalent
"ak" is "ac"

Pinchas is right - micha

 

For the record, IRL he is a really nice guy! - HappyDuck, Z"L


#16 Yudi

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 09:10 AM

Isn't it more accurate to say "Hebrew"? I don't get where the word "Jew" even comes from?


'Jew' is an English word, same as 'Jude' is German, 'Juif' is French, 'Jode' is Dutch, etc - all meaning 'Jew'.

In Hebrew, the word is 'Yehudi', as Pinchas explained, from the southern Israelite kingdom of 'Yehudah' (in English 'Judah' or sometimes 'Judea' from the Latin). This kingdom was named 'Yehudah' after the tribe which descended from Yehudah, one of the sons of Yaakov/Jacob. The kingdom of Yehudah/Judah was composed predominantly of Israelites from the tribes of Yehudah/Judah and Binyamin/Benjamin, plus Levites and Kohain, and also Israelites from the other tribes.

In a religious sense, we are called 'Israel', as in the people/nation Israel, but from a secular sense, we are called Jews. Using the term 'Hebrew' went out of common usage maybe a century ago, same as the word 'Jewess'.

#17 Yudi

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 09:20 AM

Also to the person that said the USA has a lot of derogatory names for jews, this is true, but I want to say that my "quest" to learn about Judaism has been nearly impossible. The info is just not out there. I don't even know where to find a jew to ask questions except on the internet lol! Everyone is so focused on hating Muslims right now. That's the current hate trend in the US.


I am not American, and I do not live in the USA. However, if you live in probably just about any city in the USA, there should be a synagogue, where you could ask your questions. Otherwise, any good bookshop, and especially a Jewish bookshop, would have plenty of info.

#18 Yudi

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 09:55 AM

Everyone is so focused on hating Muslims right now. That's the current hate trend in the US.


Here are some facts, which can be seen on the official FBI website:

In 2010, only 13.2 percent of religion-based attacks were directed at Muslims. By comparison, 65.4 percent of such crimes were directed at Jews.

In 2009, the FBI reported that 70.1 percent of religious-based hate crimes were anti-Jewish while only 9.3 percent were anti-Islamic.

In 2008, the FBI said 66.1 percent were anti-Jewish while 7.5 percent were anti-Muslim.

This has been true of every year in the past decade, even in 2001 when anti-Muslim crime spiked in the wake of 9/11. For all of the breast-beating about Islamophobia in this country, anti-Semitism remains a far greater problem.

http://www.commentar...-anti-semitism/

#19 Rivka5768

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 10:27 AM

Here are some facts, which can be seen on the official FBI website:

In 2010, only 13.2 percent of religion-based attacks were directed at Muslims. By comparison, 65.4 percent of such crimes were directed at Jews.

In 2009, the FBI reported that 70.1 percent of religious-based hate crimes were anti-Jewish while only 9.3 percent were anti-Islamic.

In 2008, the FBI said 66.1 percent were anti-Jewish while 7.5 percent were anti-Muslim.

This has been true of every year in the past decade, even in 2001 when anti-Muslim crime spiked in the wake of 9/11. For all of the breast-beating about Islamophobia in this country, anti-Semitism remains a far greater problem.

http://www.commentar...-anti-semitism/


Wow I really didn't know that. I don't get anti-semitism though......the whole world seems to be trying to copy the Jews, yet hate them? That makes no sense to me. Like the Christians......they are just Roman Pagans who adopted Jewish scripture and claimed it as their own........yet....

#20 Yudi

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 07:10 AM

Wow I really didn't know that. I don't get anti-semitism though......the whole world seems to be trying to copy the Jews, yet hate them? That makes no sense to me. Like the Christians......they are just Roman Pagans who adopted Jewish scripture and claimed it as their own........yet....


For an excellent explanation of the reasons for Jew-hatred, see http://www.aish.com/sem/wtj/

Why the Jews? Understanding the root of the world's longest hatred.




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