Keeping the Faith

The 2000 film about a rabbi and priest gets Judaism all wrong.

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In addition to the film's text of romantic religion, there is a subtext here that should not go unmentioned. This is another in a long line of films about the "Shiksa Goddess" (played in the 1960s by Cybill Shepherd and Lee Remick) who are superior to Jewish women at everything, including controlling Jewish men and their mothers. ["Shiksa" is a derogatory Yiddish term for a non-Jewish woman.] That quasi-racist subplot is insulting to Jewish women, Gentile women, converts to Judaism, and--especially in this film--to Jewish men, particularly male rabbis.

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Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel

Elliot B. Gertel is the rabbi of Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Chicago and media critic for The Jewish Post and Opinion of Indianapolis.