Ask Now of the Days that are Past

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University of Calgary Press, 2005 - History - 311 pages
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Written for a general audience, the essays collected here present refreshing and often humorous glimpses of various topics in Jewish history and traditional religious literature. Inspired by the diversity of Jewish thought, author and scholar Eliezer Segal sheds light on the social and political forces that have brought the Jewish community together in the past and still speak with familiarity to a modern western culture.



Enlightening and entertaining, Professor Segal's writing is a rare blend of scholarship and wit, highlighting contemporary experiences that bring the rich heritage of Jewish civilization to life for the everyday reader. With an extensive and broad knowledge of ancient and medieval Jewish social and religious traditions, Segal deftly crafts anecdotes and explanations that address the tribulations of contemporary life.



From topics as diverse as panhandling, tennis, vampires, and the history of the tomato to themes as universal as weddings, charity, and taxation, the essays presented here, some for the first time in English, all include detailed notes on sources for further reading.



Equally suited to those after a light-hearted romp or those on a serious quest for knowledge, Ask Now of the Days that Are Past is sure to satisfy anyone who has ever wondered how the past still influences us today.

 

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Contents

1 People of the Book
3
2 How to Start a Jewish newspaper
9
3 The European Genizah
15
4 The Crown of Aleppo
21
Holiness and Heresy
29
5 Where Seldom is Heard a Mystical Word
31
6 A Dubious Blessing
37
7 Hiwi the Heretic
43
25 Majority Rules
159
26 Baldness Bears and Bottled Water
165
Economics and Ethics
171
27 Minimizing Your Assets
173
28 Not All that Glisters
177
29 You Can Bank On It
183
30 Ransom Note
189
31 The Price Is Right
195

Encounters and Enlightenings
49
8 Rabbi in the Abbey
51
9 Thou Shall Not Kill
59
10 On the Other Hand
65
Babies Brides and Burials
69
11 Birth Rites
71
12 May the Best Man Win
77
An AgeOld Argument
83
14 Who Was Rembrandts Jewish Bride?
87
15 Beneath the Stars
93
16 All Cows Go To Heaven
101
Congregation and Community
107
17 Trimming the Guest List
109
18 Service Interruption
113
19 Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?
119
Policy and Piety
125
20 Taking Leave of Our Census
127
21 The Wagers of Sin
133
22 Affairs of the State
139
23 Prophets Protests and Pepper Spray
145
24 The VicePresident of Grenada
151
Buildings and Blessings
203
32 Rabbi Watch Out For That Beam
205
33 Beam Me Up
211
34 The Walls Have Ears
215
35 Preparing For A Prophet
221
Life and Leisure
227
36 Healthy Advice From The Top Authorities
229
37 Tennis Anyone?
235
38 Keeping The Ball In Play
241
39 Push Torah
247
Creatures and Curiosities
253
40 The Sirens Song
255
40 The Power of the Human Voice
261
42 The Love Apple
265
43 Horse Sense
269
44 The Right Vampire
275
45 Going to the Ants
281
Glossary
285
Index
301
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Eliezer Segal was born in Montreal in 1950 and has published numerous articles and books on Jewish subjects. He is a professor at the University of Calgary in the Religious Studies department, where he has been teaching since 1986.

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