Shiksa is Yiddish for a non-Jewish woman, a phrase meant to be a tad insulting.
Its roots stem from the Hebrew word, sheketz, meaning impure and the object of loathing.
I, on the other hand, always take it as a compliment of being noticed as a gentle woman, rather than a gentile one.
Theres’s a beautiful synagogue not far from where I live.
A very old Jewish man was headed there during a sudden rain storm. He had a cane, his yarmulke challenged by the wind, so I sidled up to offer him my arm.
He looked at me through what John Quincy Adams called, a darkening eye, seeming shocked I had stopped.
“I am u-kee,” he said, in an old world parlance waving me away.
My humor, always at hand said, ‘What, is it because I’m a shiksa?”
Before he could answer, a huge wind whipped up causing him to stumble.
I quickly grabbed him so he wouldn’t fall, his Torah now at his feet, pulling us both against the side of the temple so we could brace ourselves.
A security guard came out to help, taking him by both arms. This allowed me to rescue the sacred text getting soaked on the sidewalk, managing to unclench the old man’s hands to reclaim it.
While the guard more or less dragged him into the synagogue’s great hall, I hear, “Vait, vait, vere eez’ da sheek-sa? Is she u-kee?”
As the wind stood behind me finally at rest, like a boyfriend who had had a little too much to drink, I hollered…
“I’m here, I’m here…all is well.”
“Toda, toda,” he said, before disappearing into the safety of God’s noble house.
As far as this shiksa goes…
I smiled knowing, toda means, thank you, in Hebrew.