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An Abominable Word

November 21, 1999

Note to the copy desk: The word "shiksa" (used most recently in Ann Hornaday's piece on Barry Levinson, "He's Digging Deeper Into Home Turf," Nov. 14), meaning a female non-Jew, is rooted in the Hebrew word meaning "abomination."

That makes it pejorative on its face, no matter who's using it or how "affectionately" it's being used. It's about as affectionate as the N-word, and if The Times' style sheet lists racial pejoratives (not to mention the various pejoratives applied to Jews) as no-nos, "shiksa" and its male and plural counterparts should go on the same list.

ELLEN JAFFE-GILL

Culver City

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