Speaking Out: Dr. Elliott Malamet

The Open Society

April 30, 2012 By: Dr. Elliott Malamet
In his groundbreaking book, The Heretical Imperative, Professor Peter Berger argued that modernity—and its emphasis on freedom of choice—has profoundly affected every area of society, religion included. In a world where personal and communal identities are not givens, but must be constantly reinforced by a variety of means on a consistent basis, the question of how people who wish to maintain traditional religious outlooks negotiate with the...
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April 29, 2012 By: Dr. Elliott Malamet
Sin gets bad press these days, because it is experienced as a guest that brings a whole slew of unwelcome associates into the house--guilt, bad feeling, punitiveness. These alleged running mates of sin are anathema to most, and so the very ability to examine our realities is muted by the desperate postmodern drive to feel good at all costs. And the costs are indeed high, as the soft-pedalling of our spiritual mistakes morphs into a full-blown...
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Preparing to Die, Learning to Live

October 05, 2011 By: Dr. Elliott Malamet
  Dear Sir,    Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the upcoming High Holidays. You want to know why it is that people who have palpably little Jewish involvement for the other 362 days of the calendar bother to attend synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. On the other hand you are puzzled by Jewish tradition, which places so much emphasis on these three days, as though God is unavailable on a cold...
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The Silence of Eternity

September 25, 2011 By: Dr. Elliott Malamet
Education, Mark Twain once quipped, consists mainly in what we have unlearned. For a great many Jews today, shul is a kind of ponderous opera, taking place in a foreign tongue, that they desperately wish to unlearn. Depending on the opera house in question, the always well-dressed patrons sit in stony uncomprehending silence or continuously interrupt the performance with a rowdy mirth that attests to the inconvenience of self-restraint. One who...
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Jewish Spirituality in Our Time

September 21, 2011 By: Dr. Elliott Malamet
The philosopher Thomas Molnar states that at present, religion is accepted and even flourishes, but only as a kind of "psychic weekend from too much materialism, exacting work, and blatant immorality." Molnar's criticism is acute; religion today has become a kind of lowest common denominator in many circles, an escape from pornography and politics, or just that big bad world outside. But escape is not the stuff from which spirituality is founded...
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