Long story short, both my brother and I get asked if we're Jewish. Do people really not consider it rude to just bust out with "Are you Jewish?"
Originally Posted by Luthien
Sometimes a Jewish person will ask you if you are Jewish because

1) They are trying to encourage other Jews to follow the traditions of Judaism. In Judaism you are not allowed to try to encourage people who aren't Jewish to follow Jewish practices. So, for example, they will ask you if you are Jewish, and if you say no, they will say "thank you" and walk away. If you say yes, that you are Jewish, they will then talk to you about lighting candles on Sabbath or something.

2) They want to ask you to do something that a Jew isn't allowed to do, but a non-Jew is. For example, on the Sabbath, a Jew isn't allowed to tun on anything electrical, so they might ask a non-Jew to come into the synagogue to turn on the lights and air conditioning.
Originally Posted by Malory
But that's only for Orthodox Jews, and people don't just assume anybody's Orthodox, especially when they're wearing their hair out! Actually, I've never seen or heard of either of those motives for the question, if a Jewish person asks somebody if he/she's Jewish, it's most likely to relate, maybe commiserate, and share roots. It is a nice feeling. When a non-Jew asks, it's usually an ID thing - like what are you, Italian? No? Russian? etc.
OMG, LOOK!!

...It's a siggie.