Bruce Springsteen May Not Be Jewish, but He Has Been Described as "Jew-ish"


Feb. 2 2024, Published 9:41 a.m. ET

Bruce Springsteen performs at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 30, 2023
Source: Getty Images

For almost 50 years now, Bruce Springsteen has been one of the most important musicians in the world. Following the recent announcement that Bruce lost his mother, Adele, at the age of 98, many wanted to learn a little bit more about his personal life, including what religion he was raised with.

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Specifically, some want to know whether Bruce's last name means that he's Jewish. Here's what we know about Bruce's religious affiliation, and what kind of relationship he has with the Jewish people.

Bruce and Adele Springsteen attend MusiCares Person of the Year Honoring Bruce Springsteen on Feb. 8, 2013
Source: Getty Images
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Is Bruce Springsteen Jewish?

Bruce is of Dutch, Irish, and Italian descent, and he grew up in a Catholic household in New Jersey. So, from a very literal standpoint, Bruce isn't Jewish, and he isn't really even sort of Jewish. And yet, as Atlantic writer Eric Alterman has suggested, Bruce's music has a certain resonance within the Jewish community.

"Perhaps you thought young Bruce was mostly singing about cars, girls, and getting the hell out of town before he switched gears to focus on the dignity of working folk, the broken promises of the American dream, and more cars and girls," Eric writes. "But amid the empty factories, crowded barstools, and swimming holes that constitute the foundation of the Springsteen oeuvre, some detect a whiff of the Chosen."

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As Eric goes on to argue, Bruce has often suggested a certain connection with people of the Jewish faith, and many things in his music resonate specifically with a Jewish audience. Ultimately, though, Bruce isn't Jewish and has never suggested that he identifies with that faith. He was raised Catholic, and by all indications, he remains a Catholic in good standing to this day.

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Bruce recently lost his mother.

Bruce is dealing with personal loss following the announcement on his Instagram page on Feb. 1, 2024, that his mother Adele had died at the age of 98. Bruce didn't offer any cause of death, but Adele had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for more than a decade.

Bruce has long credited his mother with getting him into music in the first place. He said that she was the first person to rent him a guitar when he was just 7 years old.

A few years ago, Bruce discussed how his mother was at that time.

“She’s 10 years into Alzheimer’s,” he said. “She’s 95. But the need to dance, that need to dance is something that hasn’t left her. She can’t speak. She can’t stand. But when she sees me, there’s a smile.”

Bruce has also explained that, while his mother didn't inspire his specific music, she's the reason his shows are so joyful and energetic. She had that same energy when they were growing up, and a commitment to ensuring that their family stayed together.

“My mother is the great energy — she’s the energy of the show,” Bruce said in 1987. “The consistency, the steadiness, day after day — that’s her."

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