What is a Jew?

Does the noun “Jew” refer to a religion or to an ethnicity? Rabbi Ethan Tucker discusses how the rise of Alexander the Great enabled the decoupling of ethnicity from religion, arguing that it was this historical moment that plunged the Jewish community into a centuries-long identity crisis. Tracing attitudes about Judaism as a religion and an ethnicity from Torah though medieval Jewish thought, Rabbi Tucker provides an historical examination of Jewish identity as a religion and an ethnicity.

Rabbi Dr. Ethan Tucker is co-founder and rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar, and chair in Jewish Law. Rabbi Tucker also directs Mechon Hadar’s Center for Jewish Law and Values. Previously, Rabbi Tucker was faculty at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, where he taught Talmud and Halakhah in the Scholars' Circle. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a PhD in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was also a Wexner Graduate Fellow, and a BA from Harvard College. He has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the Top 50 Rabbis in America. Rabbi Tucker is also a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.

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