I am the only obviously Jewish person in my workplace. Based on conversations with coworkers and observation of cubicle ornaments / desk decorations / clothing, it appears that everyone else in the office identifies as some manner of Christian (generally Catholic, Lutheran, or evangelical Protestant). They’ve all seen Jews before, and the exoticism has worn off. Aside from having to remind a couple of folks that I do not schedule non-emergency tasks Friday night through Saturday evening, we get along without any apparent difficulty. As a general rule, I don’t discuss religion at work, unless there’s a work-related issue (such as the aforementioned scheduling conflict).
One woman is an enthusiastically evangelical Christian, and she seems to be making some inappropriate assumptions about my opinions and interests: assuming that I’d like to go to a lecture on Intelligent Design (I wouldn’t), or that I need to be assured that real Christians don’t hate Jews (I’m pretty sure my aunt the deacon repects me as much today as she did last month). I’m genuinely touched by her concern, I’m satisfied that it comes from the heart, and I believe that it’s offered with the best of intentions. I can live with it.
I’ve recently learned that we’re going to be relocated into the same office space (as in we’re going to sit next to each other, share a coffee machine, and exchange flu strains). I am worried that her outreach is going to morph into full-scale witnessing / proselytizing once we’re in each other’s face all the time. Is there a graceful way to nip this in the bud if it does happen? I am NOT looking for 100 ways to say “f* off” - I AM looking for effective ways to say “No thank you, and please don’t raise the subject again.”
I am assuming that I won’t need to say anything. However, I think it’s better to have response thought out in advance than to be caught off guard and say something rude in my surprise.