Bottom line, could wearing the star be offensive to others or slow my growth internally?
You need to decide what your real objective is. If it's to quietly wear a symbol of your identity privately and without making an issue, do so. If it's a symbol of pride or religious observance, then do so publicly but be aware of the potential social consequences and plan accordingly.
Any ostentatious display of religion has the possibility of influencing others, sometimes at the subconscious level. While outright discrimination based on religious affiliation is against the law in most places, it nevertheless has an emotional and social impact on others.
You need to ask yourself what your goal really is. If it is simply to wear a symbol for yourself, then I would recommend wearing it discretely so as not to raise an issue at all. If it is as a symbol of pride in your religious identity, or as a visible religious observance (e.g. wearing a yarmulke at all times) then you should do so—but you must then accept the fact that this will have an impact on others' perceptions of you, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Also keep in mind that religious observance raises logistical and practical considerations for others in an office environment. By making an issue of your religion, however quietly, you force coworkers and employers to consider things like:
- Do we need to worry about dietary restrictions for office parties?
- Is this person going to create a burden on coworkers by taking off for additional religious holidays, in addition to national holidays and common holidays like Christmas and Easter? (NB: There are a lot of Jewish holidays, especially if you include the minor holidays and fast days.)
- Will this person's religious identity cause friction with coworkers or clients, or will it interfere with their ability to do the job?
While such considerations are often not strictly legal, it is naive to think that these thoughts don't occur to others. Making an open issue of your religious affiliation certainly makes it an issue for others as well. This may be unavoidable, and is not always a negative, but deliberately creating a perception of otherness is generally not conducive to fitting in quietly.
While one should never be ashamed of one's religious affiliation, and in a perfect world would never fear negative reactions or consequences, that's not (yet) the world we live in. Therefore, I recommend:
- If the symbol is strictly for yourself, be discrete. Wear it inside your shirt to make it a non-issue, not out of any sense of shame but strictly out of pragmatism.
- If the symbol is part of your public identity or part of your religious observance, then wear it publicly. However, you should be prepared to make it as much of a non-event as possible. Nonchalance is a good tactic, as it treats it as a matter of course rather than something notable that forces others to think about or acknowledge it as something out of the ordinary.
- Be prepared to gently deflect questions about your religious identity in a way that makes it part of you, but a non-event for your co-workers. For example: "Oh, this? I wear it as part of my religious identity, but I make a point of not discussing religion at work out of respect for my coworkers."