Alex Kaye


Dr. Alexander Kaye is a faculty member at Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He is the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Near East and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.

Alexander Kaye received a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Columbia University, and a B.A. and M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge. He is ordained as a rabbi, having received his rabbinical ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, and served as Assistant Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York. Previously he taught at Princeton University and The Ohio State University.

Dr. Kaye’s research is on Jewish intellectual history and the history of political and legal thought. With David N. Myers, he co-edited The Faith of Fallen Jews, a collection of works by the late Prof. Yosef H. Yerushalmi. His new book, The Invention of Jewish Theocracy, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, is a history of the idea, espoused by many religious Zionists, that the State of Israel should be run by halakha.


September 22, 2019 – “Is Zionism Legitimate in an Age of Nationalist Populism and Ethnocentrism?”

We know the bad things that happen in the name of nationalism throughout history: xenophobia, nativism, the mistreatment of people on the margins who do not fit the nationalist narrative. Can we love Zionism if we have these concerns that are often baked into nationalism? Is Zionism any different from all the other problematic nationalisms that have afflicted resident minority populations?

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October 28, 2018 – “Israel’s New Nation-State Law: Consequences for Jewish Democracy”

Since its inception, Israel has aspired to two noble ideals: Israel is a Jewish state, a state where all Jews can be at home. And Israel is a democratic state, a state where its non-Jewish citizens have equal rights.

These two aspirations-Jewish and democratic-are expressed clearly in Israel’s founding documents.

What is this law? Where did it come from? What does it mean for Israel’s Jewish and non-Jewish citizens? How shall we, who value both Jewish and democratic, see this law?

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