Synopsis & Reviews

1024px-Rembrandt - Moses with the Ten Commandments - Google Art Project

Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of Judaism’s central tenets is the doctrine that the Jews are God’s Chosen People. This film traces the history and evolution of chosenness: 

What does it mean to say the Jews are God’s Chosen People? Chosen for what purpose? What are the biblical roots of this doctrine? How does the meaning of chosenness change across time and people? In the Ancient Near East? In Medieval Christian Europe? After the Enlightenment? In the wake of the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel? Why does the belief in chosenness remain so powerful among religious people in the 21st century? 

Are all Jews inherently Chosen, or does it depend on forming a personal covenant with God, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai?

What do Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews believe about chosenness? What about secular Jews? For those who don't believe in God or who view bible stories as myth, what relevance does any of this have?

There is a whole branch of Judaism - Reconstructionist Judaism - which has removed references to the Jews as "chosen by God" from their prayerbooks. What was the impetus behind removing such an important doctrine, and what replaced it?

There are competing narratives around chosenness in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. What are the historical implications of this rivalry? What is the connection between "The Chosen People" and "The Promised Land?

Fantastic! A must see!

- Cathy Baer

As someone who knows remarkably little about the history of the controversy surrounding Judaism and the chosen people, I really felt this documentary covered such complex issues clearly and concisely without sacrificing substance or depth.

- Heather Braun, Ph.D

The Chosen People? deals with the persistent problem which exists in EVERY religion. It gets at the source of why religions which proclaim peace and brother/sister hood become purveyors of intolerance of other faiths. We can be most thankful for this careful and thorough examination of what is at the source of why there is discord worldwide.

- Rev. Dr Charles Ausherman

Independent documentary filmmaking at its best.

-Philip Swift

I love this film! I learned a great deal about Jewish history and theology, but also about how feeling "chosen," by God (or natural selection) above other people is something that pervades all religions, indeed society in general. It made me wonder if it is not the crux of what divides us. 

- Angela Miller

An in-depth study of this poorly understood topic. 

- Bob McKimm

The filmmaker takes a very personal path through a complex subject. Explanations which might seem dry in other hands are vivid, engaging and compelling. It certainly bears watching more than once and challenges me to evaluate my own belief system. 

Dr. Steven Radwany

Long overdue! Hopefully will generate discussion within open-minded Jewish community. 

- Vladimir Roth

The film raises important questions about peoplehood and Jewish identity. It is a terrific film for anyone interested in the intersection of religion and culture. While it is about Judaism, it likely applies to many other cultures as well! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

- Rabbi Josh Brown

Well done and really eye-opening. A great way to start a discussion!

-Isaac Kaufman

Director Josh Gippin presents the tenet of Jewish "chosenness" with historical context, opinions from contemporary theologians, and light-hearted humor. I walked away with what I believe is a deeper understanding of not only the concept of "chosenness", but also a greater appreciation for Judaism and Jewish culture as a whole.

- Joe Sauve

Fascinating coverage of an important topic! It's accessible and thought-provoking to all regardless of religious background.

- Rabbi Gregory Hersh

This is a very entertaining and thought provoking film that explores age-old questions in a contemporary way. The film maker has done a fine job of bringing together points of view that explore an age-old issue in a way that will keep you thinking about the movie for long after. Watch it with your friends and family.

-Mary Ann Freedman

Provocative and important. I highly recommend it to a broad audience.

- Alexis Pogorelskin

Outstanding exploration of a soul-searching question.

- Kary Lewis

Clear, thought provoking, human and passionate.

- Will Brass

Enlightening and relevant for our times!

- Michael West

An incredible, thoughtful film!

-Alyssa Blitzer

© Joshua Tree Productions, Ltd  2017