This is a question that both Micah and I have been asked a few times in the past week. We assumed it had something to do with the fact that yesterday and today are Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year (or one of the Jewish new years). Micah said that just before the first time he was asked, he heard somebody else be asked if they were Jewish and his response was, “Oh, I’ve done it already.” Now we are both curious about what “it” is, but I haven’t been able to find out if there is anything specific Jews are supposed to do the week before Rosh Hashanah. I am also curious as to why random Jews are asking me if I am Jewish. Do I look Jewish? Is it something to do with Rosh Hashanah? One of the men who asked me looked like he might read to me out of the Talmud (or some other book that was written in Hebrew) if I answered yes. I suppose I could go out on Eastern Parkway and hope someone else asks me, and then ask him why he is asking me, but I thought I would see if anybody else knows more about this than I do.
Also, in case you wanted to know what some Jewish traditions for Rosh Hashanah are, I will tell you. Jews like to eat apples dipped in honey, or put honey on their bread (usually they put salt) as a symbol of a sweet new year. They also toss stones or bread into natural flowing water to symbolize casting off sins. The month before Rosh Hashanah is a time of self-reflection and of making resolutions, and the ten days after Rosh Hashanah are a time to repent before Yom Kippur.
At least that is what I learned from Wikipedia just now.