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Is the word Goy offensive?

I have no idea how my simple funny picture making fun of global warming became an all out debate over whether the usage of the term Goy to refer to non-Jews is offensive or not. Since I would rather have the whole populace involved and in order to entertain you fine folks sitting in your cubicles- I decided to make a special post to give you the floor to battle it out.

I find the word Goy to be quite nasty and refrain from using it, however the term “goyishe” is used since its a hard to word to find such a yiddisher sounding replacement.

Is the word Goy offensive?

{ 148 comments… add one }
  • heimish in bp June 24, 2008, 2:53 PM

    I dont have a facebook acount. sorry.
    You must be mixing me up with someone else.

  • heimish in bp June 24, 2008, 3:05 PM

    And Hesh has my email address, you can ask it from him, and you can tell me anything you want.

    I am trying very hard not to say anything. For you did get me upset.

  • s(b.) June 24, 2008, 3:27 PM

    I’m sorry my words upset you. I am totally okay with agreeing to disagree with you on your ethnocentric, arrogant point of view on Jews and people who are not Jewish. You may want to check out facebook dot com slash profile dot php?id=1308534762. I recognize the picture from other places on the internet. Due to the similarity in name, surely you can understand my shock and say-it-ain’t-so at the thought of the person behind profile being the same person behind your screen name here.

  • s(b.) June 24, 2008, 3:28 PM

    I have to say that knowing it’s not you, I think it’s pretty funny that someone else is running around with that name.

  • Chris_B June 25, 2008, 3:32 AM


    Does this trying very hard mean you have a secret set of manners I didn’t know about? Are you this hateful to people in real life or just on the net?

    By regurgitating the same garbage you wouldn’t be referring to the Chumash quotes I referenced would you? I thought not…

    There are exactly two orthodox rabbis in Tokyo. I’m gonna make it a point to meet with both and ask them if it would be possible to setup a conf call or email conversation to answer your other question. Even if I pay for the international call bridge myself its worth it to me.

  • heimish in bp June 25, 2008, 8:51 AM

    No problem, but before you talk to the rabbi’s print out both of my comments, the one of 3:44, and the one of 5:48, and before they give an opinion, let them read both of them through. NO problem.

    You can contact Hesh, he has my email address, and we can take it from there.

    Nothing that I wrote was or has any hate in it. I am a Humanist, and love my fellow people. I will apoligize again and again if I offended some, but the name of this site is “frum”satire. And all I have been saying untill now was what and how a Frum person should, and i said should, feel and act about this situation. If you are offended by what i wrote, you should to some real soul searching if you are truelly a frum yid.

  • Chris_B June 25, 2008, 10:01 AM

    I should qualify, both orthodox rabbis here are Chabad. Still OK with you? If so I’ll print out both threads in their entirety up to your agreement to follow. I’ll ask Hesh to forward an email from me so we can establish contact outside of this thread. Of course I’d like to mention the result here either way even though it only settles the question of your opinion and not the overall question.

    Heck I’d even offer to do the “100 rabbis” thing but we aint got that many in all of Japan 8)

  • heimish in bp June 25, 2008, 10:21 AM

    I assumed they were Chabad, and I have nothing against Chabad, if anything I have immense respect to Chabad, for I have traveled a bit, including Honk Kong, and am forever grateful for providing Jewish services across the globe.

    However, as I am sure you know, they are there, in Tokyo, for that exact reason. To bring yidishkiet, to parts of the world where there isnt. So they probably do have a more of a liberal view of this whole conversation. And if you read my 5:48 comment again I wrote, “that if you would print out my comment and take it to any traditional Orthodox Rabbi,” I think most would agree that a Rabbi who dedicated his life and family to bring back jewish souls to their roots, would handle such discussions differently. However, please do go to them, and show them my comments and see if they are hateful, stupid, ill-informed, or any other title they have been labled in this thread.

  • Chris_B June 25, 2008, 10:37 AM

    Agreed then. This will take some time since those guys are in totally different parts of town from me and I imagine arranging scheduling will be tricky as well. Please be patient but I will definitely do this.

  • Danielle June 26, 2008, 10:01 AM

    Wow. I had no idea that my post would stir the pot so much.

    Heimish, your reply to my comment is incredibly sad and indicates that perhaps you have met too few people.

    You asked, “If we arent better, and each nation serves another point of existance, for another purpose, why are you converting?”
    I don’t think lawyers are better than doctors, but being a lawyer is the best fit for me. By leaving the path to becoming an M.D. and embarking on a path for a J.D., I was shifting my life into the place where I could best serve my community. By choosing to become Jewish, I am not saying that Jews are better than B’nei Noah, I am saying that I can serve Hashem better as a Jew than I could as a B’nei Noah.

    “Why arent you accepting your role in creation?”
    What makes you think that my role in creation wasn’t to be born in a Christian family, learn from my experiences, and convert to Judaism? I can see many benefits to doing so, and I am sure Hashem has reasons I cannot even fathom.

    “is it personal reasons? you want to feel more connected to god? are you saying that jews are more connected to god? are we on a higher level? then how could that not be better?”
    You ask many personal questions, assume an answer, and move on with questions assuming an answer I haven’t given. I doubt converting could ever be done for impersonal reasons, and there is no evidence that Jews are more connected to God. A Jew has 613 Mitzvah’s and a non-Jew, Goy, has only 7. It seems that a Jew has to do a lot more work to connect to Hashem than a non-Jew.

    “If you can give me a number of an email address of an orthodox rabbi who wouldnt think a yid is not better then a goy, i would greatly appreciate it.”
    I doubt it. I bet if I have you an e-mail address of such a Rabbi, you wouldn’t use it. I also do not feel it would be appropriate for me to list the names and numbers and email addresses of people who are uninvolved in this conversation. However, just last night I was reading The World of Prayer by Rabbi Elie Munk. He addresses “…Who has not made me a gentile,” and states that this berachah “by no means assigns a lesser worth to the gentile.” He continues, “This is amply proved by the fact that a good many of the greatest Halachic authorities who sanction the positive ‘Who has made me a Jew’ rather than the negative form.” “‘It expresses gratitude to God for having allowed us to become Jews — for having chosen us from all people, and having introduced us to His service, so that we may fulfill His commands.’ (Levush)”
    “To see, in the idea of the Chosen People, and in the daily reiteration of the idea in this berachah, as sign of conceit and self-glorification, would be a gross error. Our destiny — namely, to be a ‘kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ — has always been considered a duty rather than a privilege. Moreover, it was always understood that the fulfillment of this mission was only the prelude to the rise of all humanity to similar ethical heights.”

    Hemesh, if the real reason you want me to give you the number to an Orthodox Rabbi is so that you can truly ask some questions and be exposed to a point of view that is different from yours, my blog is easy to find. Make a comment on it with your e-mail address and I will speak to some Rabbis and put you in touch. If you are making the assertion in an effort to pretend like you have the authority of every Orthodox Rabbi backing you, then fine. The fallacy of an appeal to authority is still a fallacy.

  • heimish in bp June 26, 2008, 12:58 PM

    Danielle, I am heading to the Catskills for the weekend, but I will give a proper response, when I come back.

  • Agathos August 24, 2008, 5:27 AM

    The word “goy” does have a derogatory meaning equivalent to “dog”. An example of this is seen in Christian Scripture. In the analogy of a dog eating the crumbs under his master’s table, Yeshua (Jesus) is using the word “goy” to mean both “dog” and “gentile” (Mat. 15:26, 27; Mark 7:27, 28).

  • dg September 2, 2008, 5:45 PM

    hey all you stupid goy out there….The term goy means “cattle” in yiddish. That is in reference to how easily you stupid goy blindly follow what the Jews tell you how to think. Stupid cattle.

  • Rob Nafikleh September 2, 2008, 8:53 PM

    You think its hard finding another word for “goy”? How do you think I feel when I address people from African locations such as Nigeria or the Republic of Niger by the Niger River. Is it my accent or what? Everyone wants to stab me when I ask about their fellow Nigers from Nigeria? Does anyone have any suggestions? I think Goy works better for me.

  • Frum Satire September 3, 2008, 10:39 AM

    Goy is not offensive unless its said offensively- then again- dirty Jew is offensive. But cheap kike is not offensive to me- who really cares. Oh wait your comment 114

  • nonHebrew December 28, 2008, 11:56 PM

    Why is there even a discussion. Yes, Goyim is offensive. But not much more that the ‘polite’ terms Gentile and Protestant. No one refers to themselves as protestant unless they are filling out a form that has the choices: catholic, protestant, other. And NO ONE when asked their race, creed, or religion would answer Gentile, Goy, or cattle. So if people would not refer to themselves that way, then why would you? And why would you use a word you think non hebrews wouldn’t understand unless you mean it offensively? I am constantly amazed at how people who are so disrespected can turn around and be so disrepectful to others. I am Cherokee, I am not Gentile, I am not a dog, I am not cattle.

  • im_a_goy_and_kafir_too January 15, 2009, 12:00 PM

    I dislike the word “goy” as much as I dislike moslem people calling non-believers (like me) kafir. We never call non-hindus “those cow-eating bastards” / “those stupid people who don’t believe in reincarnation”.

  • jennthejewess January 15, 2009, 12:40 PM

    I HATE the word goy and almost never use it…i physucally cringe wen others do…I just say non jew

  • Gabe February 21, 2009, 11:59 PM

    Goy is just a word. The attitude of “I’m better than you because of my religion” whether you’re christian, jewish or muslim, scientologist or whatever is bullshit. Personally, I think God would want us all to pull our heads out of our butts and realize that we should all be making our circumstances better by helping one person at a time if we can. Getting hung up in whether or not “goy” is offensive is by far to me the stupidest hangup I have ever seen. It’s offensive to some and to others it doesn’t even matter. I think that if we spent as much time on the real issues rather than on the great “goy” debate then maybe there wouldn’t be as many brutal and violent acts happening all over the world.
    Gabe Peloponnakos
    A goy with asperger’s
    Ps: Political Correctness is lame to me, actually giving a crap about people is the cool thing to do, but that’s just my opinion.

  • ThisWholeThingSoundsInsane March 9, 2009, 11:32 PM

    “If we arent better, and each nation serves another point of existance, for another purpose, why are you converting? ”

    Haimish clearly has a very warped view of the world and reality.

    It leads me to conclude that haimish is nothing less than a full blown Zionist, by him making durogatory remarks about the goyish and claiming Judaism etc. is a way to feel superior to everyone else.

    This is the kind of crazy talk only preached in countries like Georgia. How in the world is Judaism both a race AND a religion?

    And how can you actually convert to a superior chosen race through a religion? If I convert to the Talmud as a “shabbaz goy” I am now superior to the rest of humanity?

    Are you actually being serious?
    Does this madness mean the KKK could convert to aryan status through christianity?

    Who came up with these insane crazy ideas that Haimish and others are brainwashed by, where there is some kind of superior chosen super race that comes out of the religion of Judaism & you can do whatever you want once you are part of this movement.

    This is almost as crazy as the eugenics movement of South Africa, I’m sorry but people like Haimish seem to be the reason why Judaism & Islam have gotten so much hate in the world.

    And I’m sure this rabid Zionist is the reason why these new world order games seem to go on

  • Sergeant J June 18, 2009, 3:22 PM

    A few thoughts..
    Yes, the way many Jews use the word “goy” should be considered offensive, because they MEAN to be offensive.
    To the guy who “quoted” Jesus.. Hmm, as a Jew, I don’t base my vocab or translations on anything from the NT, I mean, all all young women virgins, esp in a time where marriage under 12 was common? I think not. Oh, and
    Nigerians (Pronounced “ni-jeer-ey-ans”) Come from Nigeria, Nigeriens (I think pronounced “ni-ger-ey ans”) come from Niger.
    Hope that helps..

  • LearnedShiksa June 18, 2009, 4:45 PM

    I like to think anti-goyism has prepared me for anti-semitism

  • moshe August 25, 2009, 4:02 PM

    We are a Goy Kadosh. So certainly the word “goy” is perfectly neutral .However, some want to think of it as derogatory.
    “Screw” is a perfectly useful word but some may want to look at it as an offensive word.

  • FrumGer August 25, 2009, 4:08 PM

    Goy is not offensive, it is easier than to say non jew or gentile. the offense lays in the heart of the speaker. if you say it with a sneer then yes maybe. some say jew nasty some say jew with out any nastyness at all. period. guess what they are different than us and we are different then them. nothing wrong with being differential.

  • A non-Jew November 1, 2009, 9:23 AM

    Hello all,

    I’m not sure if this will post or not. I have been learning a lot reading these posts. I have a bit of insomnia tonight and looked up the word “goyim” to find out what it meant.

    My neighbor told me it was used in a temple he was planning on attending and he was very offended at its use. He told me about it (a non-jew) and so curiosity finally got me. I’ll have to say, there are other words on here that I’ll have to look into. Here is my take on the word, from what I know as a gentile.

    I will not use the word as I speak English and the word “gentile” suits me just fine. I found it amusing that some who have posted here said they use goy because it’s easier to say than “gentile” or “non-jew” and they are full of it. Especially after looking at words they used in their postings in which they could have used shorter words; you know, less key strokes and therefore easier to type. Gimme a break!

    I think the word use in an officious manner is ok, but the slang useage is insulting and the speaker knows in his heart how its used. If my neighbor, who is also my friend, was in the company of other jews and I came across the street and he said “Here comes my goy friend.” I would be insulted. Why not just say, “Here comes my friend.” Same as if my friend, who is black, comes to me and I’m with other friends who are white. I wouldn’t say, “here comes my black friend.” I would say, “here comes my friend.”

    Sometmes differences are obvious and don’t need to be orated. Why the constant indicators of difference we put on people; jews and non-jews alike? I’m not talking political correctness because PC is incorrect.

    Some of the things I read coming from jewish folks in these posts amazed me. The arrogance and notions of superiority that some have about themselves were shocking. Because one is a Jew, does not make one better than gentiles. Did we not all come from the stock of Adam? Didn’t Abraham come from the loins of the “goy” until God chose him to be set apart? Set apart does not mean superior. Didn’t anyone learn history from Nazi Germany on superiority complexes? Or the arrogance of God’s light bearer? Anybody here read what happened to Israel in Ezekiel? God will spank His kids if they misbehave and He has used the goyim to do it. Another thought that occurred to me, was that those who are having superior feelings of being jewish, should stop and look around at what country they are living in. If it’s not Israel, then they should be grateful to the gentile nation they are living in. Especially if they are being treated well. I’m not trying to sound antisemetic, I’m tired and trying to make a point. It’s like, if you want to get all uppity about being jewish and looking down your noses at gentiles, then go to Israel because that’s the land God promised jewish folks.

    Now here’s someting else to chew on. I became a Christian at the age of 12. True Christians and true Jews worship the same God. The BIG difference is that we (Christians) believe the Messiah has come and will come again to reign in all His power and glory. That being said, I love the jewish nation because my Savior is Jewish. To hate jews would be to hate my Messiah. I’m also to love God with all my heart and soul and love my neighbor as myself. So because of that I try really hard not to have a prideful outlook on myself. God is not a respecter of persons, He sends the rain on the just and the unjust. And I believe He looks at the heart of how someone is saying “goy” so I’d advise you to check yourself, when using the word.

  • Kim April 15, 2010, 6:23 PM

    The word “Goy” can be spelled “Goi” and could stand for “Guardians Of Israel.” In that case it is a responsibility to be a Goy and not offensive anymore. 😉

  • bob March 23, 2011, 9:04 AM

    For all the people who say it’s not offensive is it okay if a “goy” calls you a kike? Just saying

  • Echo January 27, 2012, 10:47 AM

    “Goy”, which means “non-Jew” is no more offensive a word for non-Jews than the word “Kike”, which means “circle”, is for Jews.

  • Gerald November 11, 2012, 2:36 PM

    I’m not a Hebrew or Jewish scholar, but the only time I’ve heard the term
    goyim used is by Jewish leaders and it’s used in a derogatory way to mean that all non Jews are lower than crap and don’t deserve to live except to serve the Jews. Israel is not what you think. Google- Chabad Lubavitch. Yitzchak Ginsburgh a leader of the aforementioned Jewish organization wrote in his coloumn in the largest Jewish newspaper in America the Jewish Week. He qoutes Schneur Zalman the founder of Chabad Lubavitch “As for the goyim, Zalman’s attitude was: “Gentile souls are of a different and inferior order. They are totally evil with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.”

  • Ari September 22, 2013, 6:46 AM

    My father converted to Judaism before marrying my mother. Before, and after, his orthodox conversion, my family referred to him light-heartedly, saying “what can I say? He’s a good-looking goy”.

    For them, it was a way of openly joking about the situation, and since they accepted into the family, he wasn’t bothered in the least. I agree that the term really depends on the context + the significance behind it, similar to the word Jew itself.

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