Article Discussion: Do I Look Jewish

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 5 replies, and was last updated by  Dcmouse 7 years ago.

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April 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm #1764


Click here to read the article: Do I Look Jewish

October 23, 2009 at 7:33 am #3934


hi, wile I am glad that you found your faith, i found your article to be fairly insulting. Jewish people are not a race, and while some may share similar features because of Eastern European/Middle Eastern roots, there are blonde jews and dark haired jews, black jews (Ethiopia) and white jews etc. Jews with small noses and jews with large noses etc. I would refrain from making the statement that all jews look alike. I know that there is no prejudice in your article, but I would rethink your judgement.

October 27, 2009 at 2:25 am #3945

Debbie B.


You seem to have been so put off by the author’s descriptions of her initial erroneous assumptions of what Jews look like that you missed the whole point of the story: that the author now realizes that she was wrong to expect Jews to look a certain way.

To be frank, your reference to “finding your faith” sounds like you are attributing the fact that the author made insulting assumptions to the fact that she is a convert. Sorry if I am being overly sensitive and reading in too much by that: as a both a visible ethnic minority and also a “Jew by Choice” myself, I find that I am more sensitive about the latter than the former. The funny thing is that when *I* read the story I initially assumed that the author was of an ethnic group that looked much more atypically Jewish such as I do being ethically Chinese and was surprised by her description of herself which doesn’t sound at all unusual for a Jew.

However, it is important to note that it is not just non-Jews who make assumptions about Jewish appearance. Not too long ago, a Jewish man came up to me in a rabbinically supervised supermarket with questions implying that I had wandered into the store by accident (when in fact I had gone there specifically to buy pareve coffee creamer and kosher meat). It was amazing just how many questions it took him (which I patiently answered) until he realized that I and my daughter who was with me could actually be Jewish. Finally, he sputtered, “I won’t even ask you if you are Jewish.” I told him “Yes, we’re Jewish”, and thought to myself that since I was proud of that fact, it was *less* offensive than the questions he had already asked with their implications that I couldn’t possibly be Jewish or keep kosher.

I also have a friend who is of Mexican heritage and converted to Judaism about 20 years ago. She says that Jews have often been rude to her in assuming that she could not be Jewish because of her appearance.

December 3, 2009 at 8:14 am #4078


Yes, actually I see what you mean, I guess her initial reaction was that there was a stereotypical Jewish image but her awareness deepened. . . there is superficiality on both sides, and Jews can be prejudiced towards themselves (thinking that there is a “Jewish look”.) I respect someone who is Jewish by conversion just as much as by birth. There are many Jews who were born into the religion and follow it far less closely than those who have converted. Thus I did not mean “finding your faith” in a derogatory way. hey, whatever makes you happy, and if it is the Jewish religion then I think that’s great.

August 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm #4986

Jewish and feeling good

Of course there is a Jewish look, actually a variety of Jewish looks. Many Jews are identifiable as Jews. Nothing wrong with that. Since when is it racist to say so? It’s a miracle the Jewish people still exists. Jews in most communities worldwide are genetically related. There is a trend among reform Jews to deny Jewish ethnicity in order to make converts feel comfortable. Are people really that insecure? If you look “different” from the community you’ve joined some people might take note. It’s just human curiosity. After you’ve been in a Jewish community and people get to know you all that will fade. Converts bring a unique perspective to Judaism and they can be proud of who they are. They will be accepted. The problem is often with born Jews who reject who they are and how they look. What are they ashamed of? Have we internalized all the negative stereotypes? I think to a large extent we have.
Final thought: you can look Jewish and it can be a GOOD thing.

September 12, 2010 at 11:49 am #5038


As a non-Jewish person who looks stereotypically Jewish I have a few comments to make about the “Jewish look”.
I can not tell you the amount of discrimination in the US I have dealt with because of my look–random people come up to me an asking or making statements assuming I am a Jewish person. I have incidents too numerous to post many of them very frightening.

I was adopted as a child so I may well have Jewish ancestry. However, let us remember that Jewish people and that look–that big nose she was so afraid of… the mongrels as the Nazis called them.. are targeted TO THIS DAY for their looks, now if that is not racism I don’t know what is.

As an adoptee raised Christian and who looks Jewish I found the article scary.

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