"I didn't know you were Jewish!!!"

(164 Posts)
Kappin Mon 14-Dec-15 11:23:35

This happened in the office this morning. My surname isn't 'Jewish' as my husband isn't. When discussing weekend events I happened to mention it was Hannukah, cue stunned disbelief from everyone in the nearby vicinity "I didn't know!", "you don't look Jewish!", "how are you Jewish" and even "ah so that's why you've got so much money at your age!". Has anyone else found this? It's resulted in that reaction a few times before in different situations but never before have I really questioned why.

sotiredofthis1 Mon 14-Dec-15 11:27:10

"ah so that's why you've got so much money at your age!" that's downright ignorant and offensive shock.

Not Jewish myself but I have experienced the same disbelief re. my dc sometimes. They are half Indian and I think they look it as well, but some people (who do not know my dh) really can't belieeeve it when they find out.....

RB68 Mon 14-Dec-15 11:27:26

I would just respond "we are not all stereo typical" but yes - Catholic background, divorced and remarried - get all sorts of reactions when back home!!!

sotiredofthis1 Mon 14-Dec-15 11:27:42

What did you say to your colleagues?

Kerberos Mon 14-Dec-15 11:28:14

I'm not quite sure what the AIBU is - but people are people so I wouldn't expect to be able to spot someone's religion by just looking at them. Some of those comments are very rude.

catfordbetty Mon 14-Dec-15 11:29:21

Perhaps, perhaps, a moment of surprise might be acceptable. The anti-semetic comments are impossible to justify.

nancy75 Mon 14-Dec-15 11:30:02

The money thing is rude!
I get the opposite, 2 white British parents, all grandparents white British, I have very dark skin, black hair and look "other" people ask where I am from and then expect me to go through the whole family tree as they don't believe me!

MitzyLeFrouf Mon 14-Dec-15 11:31:18

The money comment is outrageous. I'd have slapped their chops for that.

HapShawl Mon 14-Dec-15 11:31:33

Dp is Jewish (by birth, not practising) and he gets this a lot when it comes up

LurkingHusband Mon 14-Dec-15 11:31:45

When discussing weekend events I happened to mention it was Hannukah,

Does just knowing the dates of religious festivals make you a follower then ?

I'm just shock at the fact some people assume you'd only know that if you were Jewish.

swisscheesetony Mon 14-Dec-15 11:32:18

All the time - am a blue eyed blonde. Clearly they've never been to Israel! wink

NuggetofPurestGreen Mon 14-Dec-15 11:33:00

people are rude cunts.

AnUtterIdiot Mon 14-Dec-15 11:36:10

Another blue eyed Nordic-looking Jew here. English last name. DH not Jewish and in no way observant. No one ever guesses that I'm Jewish. Huge, vocal, highly irritating astonishment when they find out.

Not quite as annoying as the bloke at university who told me that he really fancied "Jewish women" because they are so "spiritual". picks nose

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 14-Dec-15 11:36:29

People saying 'Oh, I didn't know!' - not offensive.

People saying 'Oh, you don't look it!' - I don't get offended on my own account as my dad is Muslim and other Muslims would be surprised that I (a pale ginger English-sounding girl) defined myself as Muslim grin

The money comment - shock offensive at any time under any circumstances!!

swisscheesetony Mon 14-Dec-15 11:41:15

But actually... if there's any of that "Jewish money" going, can I have some? I think the chief rabbi must've lost my bank details.

CastaDiva Mon 14-Dec-15 11:42:48

The money comment is straightforwardly anti-Semitic, unless there's some possible other way of interpreting it that I'm not innocent/uncynical enough to see. shock

And what on earth does 'how are you Jewish?' mean?

Though admittedly, I find that a certain kind of person in this country sees anything other than a polite, inherited, weddings-and-funerals-only agnostic Anglicanism as pretty odd, and it leads to some very curious responses. I'm Irish and while I'm an atheist, I grew up Catholic, and have occasionally had some very odd questions about why I don't have ten children and obey the Pope, or what I say in confession.

fidel1ne Mon 14-Dec-15 11:45:54

"I didn't know!", "you don't look Jewish!", "how are you Jewish" and even "ah so that's why you've got so much money at your age!".

They sound a bit, erm, is stupid the word?

VestalVirgin Mon 14-Dec-15 11:46:06

It's resulted in that reaction a few times before in different situations but never before have I really questioned why.

Um ... antisemitism, probably? The comment about money was really inappropriate. confused

People may have automatically assumed that you're Christian and been embarrassed about it, therefore feeling the need to justify their assumptions.

It would be less embarrassing if they just pretended to never have made any assumptions, but apparently that is a bit too difficult for some people.

MaidOfStars Mon 14-Dec-15 11:48:04

I didn't know!
Fine.

you don't look Jewish!
Rather nasty stereotype.

how are you Jewish
Could count as a reasonably interested question?

ah so that's why you've got so much money at your age!
Anti-semitic. In the workplace, I would report.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 14-Dec-15 11:49:10

Could the money comment be seen not anti-semitically?

My colleague is from Bangladesh and they have a large family here who all live in the same area - all money is seen as 'family money' and couples are given a house from family when they set up home so the family own about 10/12 houses in a small area.

Any chance that Jewish families in your bit of town do the same?

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Mon 14-Dec-15 11:49:32

Just wondering if I 'look' atheist?

What is the atheist 'look'?

Is it horns?

pinkdelight Mon 14-Dec-15 11:50:37

The money comment is clearly offensive. But re. your thread title, I have said this in other circumstances, where the person is clearly (to others) more obviously Jewish in appearance and name, but I've been repeatedly clueless in this regard and then been made to look stupid for not realising. So I think it's tricky because some people will expect you to know that they're Jewish and think you're dumb if you don't take it into account e.g. in talking about potential partners, one girl I worked with discounted anyone non-Jewish, which is how I found out and made the thread title comment, which she was agog at - not because I'd been offensive, but because I hadn't known she was and it was an important part of her identity which I'd apparently overlooked. But really, unless someone is full-on Hasidic or self-identified in some other way, how would people know without some element of stereotyping?

Margay Mon 14-Dec-15 11:50:53

I get that too, although I think I do look stereotypically Jewish.

The money comment would piss me off, although not as much as the guy who insisted I should feel guilty for "killing Jesus".

ASAS Mon 14-Dec-15 11:51:27

May I ask something, truly not meaning to compound the issue, but what is stereotypical about money that would have brought on this comment? I know many Jewish families lost their livelihoods fleeing so where is this notion from?

Also totally idiotic colleagues.

DanishBlue Mon 14-Dec-15 11:51:48

Was staying with some friends we met on holiday and were invited to her extended family's house party. Big house, North London, very friendly. Introduced her to DS who was about 4 at the time "this is Christian he is 4" - shock, horror, response "So you are NOT Jewish????"

Bit shocked that it was an issue TBH, it wasn't even a consideration to me!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now