≡ Menu

Since when did shvartze become a racist word?

gay-black-kkkThe problem with Baal Teshuvas is that instead of just playing the game of Orthodoxy and Frumkeit, they seek to custom mold it to their views. While I was busy at work and not able to join you fine folks on the internet, something terrible happened. Some schmuck decided that one of the most common words in the frum persons lexicon was not cool with him and so he decided to call it racist. Nowadays, the worst thing you can do in the general world is be a racist or homophobic. Unfortunately for this dude who calls himself a Black and Jewish Chossid, the word shvartze is here to stay and it defines us as frum Yidden.

I have never heard the word shvartze used in anyway, except out of love and respect for fellow humans who happen to be black. I’m not sure where this guy hangs out, but where I’m from it was only used endearingly. Rarely did other ethnic or racial groups have specific Yiddish names created for them, usually they were just the “goyim”, but black folks have such a special place in the hearts of everyone in the frum community that they reserved the frum Yiddish terminology for them.

Growing up as a frum person I’ve witnessed the unmatched friendliness towards minorities that the frum community exhibits. It’s pretty amazing to see how loving and caring and non-judgmental that most frum people are towards the black community. The amount of kiddush Hashem that takes place is unsurpassed. Sometimes I think that frum Jews like the blacks more than their own. Yet this man who lives in a very small community that is hardly a proper sample size has decided to judge the entire frum community based on such a minority group.

I think the author of the “shvartze is racist” blog post should visit the frum communities in Baltimore, Detroit, Monsey, or Lakewood to get a better view of the frum community. I’m sure that he will be welcomed with open arms and see that people in the frum community at large only use the word shvartze in a loving and kind way.

Find out more on 4torah.com

{ 78 comments… add one }
  • A. Nuran January 27, 2014, 9:21 AM

    The terrible thing is how many frumpies will nod their heads and agree with this.

    • Dan January 27, 2014, 9:36 AM

      The terrible thing is how you are so completely unable to understand people who are unlike you, and are ready to ascribe any bad thing to them on the assumption that since they are unlike you, they must be bad.

      It’s particularly amusing when the topic is racism.

    • Adam January 27, 2014, 12:29 PM

      Can’t reply to you on the Zein shver blog for some reason. Just to say that I’ve never heard a South Asian referred to as ‘nigger’. There are plenty of other nasty terms which are reserved for them.
      Adam (Manchester, UK)

      • A. Nuran January 27, 2014, 7:26 PM

        Maybe it’s a generational thing. When I was growing up and gods-help-me at a mostly-British boarding school even the teachers called South Asians that word as well as “Paki” and a number of other things.

  • Youre Ahypocrite January 27, 2014, 9:47 AM

    Perhaps frummies should skip the word “shvartze” and follow your father’s method of just using the N-word? Funny how you leave that out.

    • Heshy Fried January 27, 2014, 9:52 AM

      I haven’t heard the N word since yeshiva, it’s yeshivishe and I grew up modernishe.

    • Youre Oblivious January 27, 2014, 10:38 AM

      …that it’s satire.

      • Heshy Fried January 27, 2014, 12:40 PM

        Dude, everything I wrote happens to be true for some people.

  • Satire aside January 27, 2014, 11:48 AM

    I totally agree with this chassid dude. Shvartze definitely has negative connotations.

  • shmuel January 27, 2014, 12:43 PM

    Where I grew up in London shvartz was what we called BTs who went “black”, i.e. wore black hat, black suit and shoes

  • Sid January 27, 2014, 4:28 PM

    Black and Jewish Chossid?

    Are there Chassidim who are not Jewish?

    • David January 30, 2014, 2:33 PM

      There are references throughout rabbinic literature and our basic texts to pious gentiles. See also, Rabbi Yaakov Emden’s letter to the gentiles containing his view of the pros and cons of Christianity. He makes states Christians are more pious that Jews in some matters.

  • The Other Mike January 27, 2014, 4:40 PM

    There’s this super-nice black guy at my shul, but I never referred to him as a shvartze because I didn’t want to disrespect him. Now that I learn from you that the word “shvartze” has such love and good connotations attached to it, I wonder if I should start using the word more, especially when addressing such a menschlich person.

    • Ed Miller December 29, 2016, 12:04 AM

      Other Mike, I wouldn’t, if I were you.

  • A. Nuran January 27, 2014, 10:10 PM

    I would love some shvartze **** right now…

  • Crowin' Cock January 28, 2014, 5:19 AM

    The word Shvartze isn’t any more racist than the word goy. It’s simply a mechanism used by frum / Yiddish Jews to differentiate between races and religions. Of course, both words can be used in a racist or derogatory context (just as referring to a negro person as “black), but it’s usage isn’t exclusive to hate.

    Creating a “them and us” mentality from a young age has been a relatively effective way of preventing intermarriage. Observant Jews believe that we are different, and not meant to interbreed with other religions. Sadly for some black Jews, they often feel that hate is being directed towards them, when it is more than likely that it isn’t.

  • Holmes January 29, 2014, 9:51 AM

    First, learn some German.

    Black, as a noun (e.g. “The car is black”): Schwarz

    Black as an adjective (e.g. “Black cars”) “Schwarze .”

    Next, buy any EU product that is colored black like polish, paint or hair color and look at the label. It will read:

    Schwarz, etc.

    Using the word “schwarz” in Yiddish ( ???????), is not racist unless there is racism in your heart.

    I am tired of hearing my culture distorted by those with an agenda. When I hear an old man ask for “schwarz” cupcakes in a Borough Park bakery, I do not believe for a second he is being racially minded.

    • Holmes January 29, 2014, 9:52 AM

      In the comment above, where you see question marks in parentheses, there was originally typed a word in Yiddish using Hebrew characters.

    • A D January 29, 2014, 12:22 PM

      we can give the Germans a pss – maybe – but as it’s used in America it is most definitely racist. My own FIL, who never grew up speaking Yiddish in the first place (though he understands it), only ever uses it to negatively refer to them, and he’s far from the only one I know who does.

      • Holmes January 29, 2014, 1:42 PM


        I hear what you are saying but please recognize that for those of us who learned Yiddish (I went to a yeshiva where the Chumash was translated into English and Yiddish), the experience may have been different.

    • Ed Miller December 29, 2016, 12:07 AM

      But when your mother referred to “her girl” as “the shvartze,” she WAS being racist.

  • Ed Miller December 29, 2016, 12:02 AM

    Heshy, in what parallel universe did you grow up? “Shvartze” has NEVER been a loving, kind, respectful term of endearment here in Greater New York. It has always been used to express utter contempt for other human beings, and quite frankly, I’m surprised at your very disingenuous surprise at it being a term of blatant racism.

    • Spinning Ballerina December 29, 2016, 2:41 PM

      Heshy intended this as satire, hence the name of the blog. He’s aware of the connotations. Unfortunately, he won’t be responding to you because he abruptly stopped posting 3 years ago or so.

      No one knows if he’s ok.

Leave a Comment