Originally Posted by odoreater
Being Jewish is a little different from being Christian or Muslim because, as far as I know, one has to be born Jewish to really be Jewish (more exactly, your mother has to be Jewish for you to really be Jewish), whereas people can convert to Christianity or Islam. Therefore, in some cases you can 'look' like a particular religion if one can only enter into that religion by birth. I think some Jewish groups allow people to convert to Judaism now, but, theologically speaking, that's an anomoly and not a widely accepted practice. In fact, if you believe that the Jews are the "chosen people" it would be pretty silly to say that someone can become one of the "chosen people" by just choosing to be one of them and thereby usurping the function of "choosing" from God and granting it to yourself.
My late father (and his father before him) looked
wonderfully "Jewish". Yet he was raised a Christian, and was of almost 100% German extraction. He converted to Judaism to marry 2nd wife (after my mother died). Oddly, the woman he married was herself a convert to Judaism! (And she too had a physical appearance many people would equate with "Jewish-ness".)
In my subsequent genealogical research I found that, ironically, my father's great-grandmother was, in fact, Jewish. Had he been aware of this fact, I've been told that his conversion to Judaism would've been somehow "easier". All immaterial, however, as the marriage lasted but a year. The police, in fact, were called to the hotel on their wedding night to break up a chair- and bottle-throwing fight!