What is a “Jew”?

There was an interesting story in the news Wednesday. The group American Atheists tried to put up a billboard in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in New York, and the owner of the building where the billboard was to be posted denied workers access to the building

The article mentions that the president of American Atheists is a man named Dave Silverman, and describes him as having been “raised in the Jewish faith.” Interestingly, the MSNBC reporter who wrote the story was not willing to describe Silverman as ethnically Jewish, despite his obviously Jewish surname and his own account of his childhood.

So is the word “Jew” strictly a religious designation?

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