[PAST EVENT] "Identity Politics and Suffering: Post-Holocaust Judaism and the Contemporary Moment": Martin Kavka

November 11, 2021
7pm - 8:30pm
McGlothlin-Street Hall, Room 20
251 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public
Martin Kavka

"Why Is There A 614th Commandment?"

The Program in Judaic Studies is excited to welcome Professor Martin Kavka, Chair of the Department of Religion at Florida State University!

To the extent that contemporary Jews in North America know anything about modern Jewish philosophy, it is that the Canadian Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim (1916–2003) formulated in 1967 what he called "the 614th commandment"—an additional commandment on top of what Judaism traditionally understands to be the 613 commandments that God gave the people of Israel. That 614th commandment to Jews reads as follows: "Do not hand Hitler posthumous victories" by ceasing to affirm one's Jewish identity, whether religious or secular. This was sociologically powerful for Jews in 1967 and later; it both expressed and grounded a flourishing of Jewish identity in the diaspora after the suffering and death of the Holocaust, and still does. It has rarely been analyzed as a philosophical argument, however; this talk evaluates Fackenheim's arguments for this commandment in the context of today's liberation movements.


Randi Rashkover [[w|rlrashkover]]