It's not always easy. Jews have lived, and are living, on every place on earth. The easiest way is some identifying clue like a Star of David jewelry or a yarmulke. But that doesn't mean that non-Jews don't sometimes wear Jewish jewelry. So, because I'm a Jewish woman - and proud to be Jewish - I wear Jewish jewelry and often someone else will ask me and then identify him-or her-self as also being Jewish.
The only way to know is if they tell you. Last names used to be a good indicator but know a days because of assimilation you have non-Jews with the name Goldstein and Jews with the name O'Malley. A Jewish person is either Jewish by birth or converted. This can only be determined by having the information either discovered or revealed to you.
1 year ago
Last edited at 9:14PM on 12/7/2012
Jewish by extraction or by faith? The term is used both ways. Some Jews, like my brother-in-law, are Jewish by faith and by extraction. My sister is Jewish by faith but not by extraction (she's a "shiksa"). Their daughter is not religious, but identifies as Jewish and takes part in the Jewish traditions. Her extraction falls somewhere between her two parents in that the orthodox Jewish religion does not consider her to be fully Jewish since she is of mixed blood. Because of this, she and her Jewish fiancee were not permitted to be married in Israel where they live, but instead took a trip to the states and got married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. THAT marriage the Israeli government recognizes. Go figure!