What Does It Really Mean To Be A Jew?

My notes from Friday’s Dvar Torah (19 February). What does it mean to be a “Jew”? To answer this we must start with another question? Who was the first person to be called a Jew? You might think Abraham was as he his considered the “father of Judaism” – but he was never called a Jew.  Rather, he was known as an “Ivri”, a “Hebrew”. Isaac, Abraham’s son was also known as an “Ivri” or “Hebrew”. As many know, Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, had a famous wresting match with an angel which led to his name being changed to “Yisrael” or “Israel”.  Jacob’s twelve sons, the twelve tribes, were known as “Israelites” not Jews. The word “Jew” or, in Hebrew, “Yehudi”, is related to the name “Judah” or “Yehudah”.  Judah was the fourth son of Jacob.  Given this, it might appear that by calling someone “Jew” or a “Yehudi”, we are…