Saturday, July 11, 2015

Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?

Peter L. Berger is a professor emeritus of sociology at Boston University. His most recent book is The Many Altars of Modernity: Towards a Paradigm for Religion in a Pluralist Age.

In his review of The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions, by Michael Walzer, he illustrates a point about the difficulty of cutting the ties that bind us to our traditional modes of being and believing. Berger happily notes:


"Rarely does a joke reveal a social and religious reality as sharply as this Israeli one: A woman and her young son are riding on a bus speaking Yiddish sometime in the 1950s. A staunch Labor Zionist fellow-passenger is annoyed and scolds her: "You are in Israel now, not in the diaspora. Why don't you speak Hebrew with your son?" To which she replies: "So that he won't forget that he is a Jew."

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