Pro­duc­ing con­tent on the Web since 1995.


some say­ings of ר‘משבצונה“ל

For many years I have worked hard, and strug­gled with mas­ter­ing virtuous. Now, in addi­tion, I’m work­ing on becom­ing more virtual.
This is an expres­sion of that effort.
* * * * * * *

השיבנו ה‘ אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו
כעוד לא היו
* * * * * * *
ומביא גאלה…
לצאצאיהם

Add to Technorati Favorites

twitter / rebmark

Bookmark and Share

All pho­tographs are by Mark Hurvitz unless they are obvi­ously not (or credit oth­er­wise is given).

The pho­tos in the ban­ner at the top (only a shal­low sliver of a much larger photo) are either from our home or our trav­els and are offered for their beauty alone (though a brain-teaser for me: “Where was that?”).

About Davka.org

I began cre­at­ing a Web site in my head as early as August 1995 when I drafted the following:

For a project I’m pur­su­ing regard­ing Jew­ish involve­ment on the inter­net and the World Wide Web in par­tic­u­lar, I’m inter­ested in learn­ing about any sites about which you may know. For exam­ple, do any rab­bis have Home pages? Which syn­a­gogues or syn­a­gogue orga­ni­za­tions have Web sites? Does Marge Piercy have a site at which you can read por­tions of “He She and It”? Does Howard Rhein­gold have a site where you can learn more about cre­at­ing a Vir­tual [Jew­ish] Com­mu­nity? Is there a Web Cam­era at the Kotel? In the Wilder­ness of Zin?

At the time there existed very lit­tle. Since then, All the syn­a­gogue move­ments have devel­oped sig­nif­i­cant sites as have other Jew­ish umbrella orga­ni­za­tions. The num­ber of syn­a­gogues them­selves that have sites increases weekly if not daily. At the time, Marge Piercy did not have a site (which sur­prised me because of her novel “He, She & It”), but that has changed. I’m cer­tain that Howard Rhein­gold did have a site, but I don’t remem­ber vis­it­ing it (his cur­rent site). At one time you could read all of “Vir­tual Com­mu­nity” Online, but I don’t think Howard is involved in much Jew­ish thought. (As with me, at one time he had a Hag­gadah Online.) There was none then, but now at least one Web cam­era is aimed at the Kotel. [Their list­ing here is by no means intended as an endorse­ment!] One is owned by Aish haTorah and the other is at a com­mer­cial site for Vir­tual Jerusalem at which you need to reg­is­ter before you can visit! Still, no one has set up a cam­era at Ben Gurion’s grave to watch the Wilder­ness of Zin.

For sim­ple orga­ni­za­tional pur­poses of my own (it was ini­tially eas­ier for me to store the mate­ri­als this way) I divided the area in to the usual six sections.

  • who
  • what
  • where
  • when
  • why
  • how

I could have used “Air, Fire, Earth, Water” or some other con­ven­tion (“scis­sors, paper, rock”?), but the basic jour­nal­is­tic six worked for me at the time.

At a cer­tain point it became a bit ques­tion­able whether cer­tain things belonged in “what/text/recipes”, or “how/recipes”.

In June of 1999 this Site moved from its home of three or four years at “Computergeeks.com” where it was gen­er­ously hosted by Joe Kissell and his part­ner David F. McKee. These gen­tle­men were made an offer for the name “com­put­ergeeks” that they could not refuse and this caused me to estab­lish my own “domain” and find a new server.

[This site is now hosted on Mac­in­tosh servers at It Won’t Byte.]

Writ­ten “long” before the devel­op­ment of blogs and blog­ging software:

Per­sonal Web pages rep­re­sent a new phe­nom­e­non (for a favorite exam­ple and a won­der­ful analy­sis…). Cor­po­rate (com­mer­cial Web sites) exist to adver­tise and sell the goods pro­duced by the com­pany. Edu­ca­tional and gov­ern­men­tal sites ful­fill a sim­i­lar func­tion. These add a venue for like-minded peo­ple to share ideas, a con­cept grow­ing in a num­ber of cor­po­rate sites that serve as the gath­er­ing ground for a “com­mu­nity of users.” There seems no rea­son why an indi­vid­ual can­not par­tic­i­pate in this process as well. In a sense, my per­sonal Web site ful­fills a vari­ety of func­tions. On the one hand, it is a “van­ity” press. On the other hand, it serves as a pub­lic repos­i­tory of mate­ri­als I make avail­able to var­i­ous audi­ences. It is as though I have taken my col­lected efforts and spread them on a table in the pub­lic square. I expect that, in time, some of these pages will require a pass­word (dis­trib­uted only to fam­ily and close friends), but that requires more script­ing knowl­edge than I cur­rently possess.

A spe­cial note:

This site should not be con­fused with the com­mer­cial site (i.e. “.com”) with a sim­i­lar name.

Nor, should this site be con­fused with the site called Dafka which (accord­ing to it’s devel­oper) was rated the num­ber one pro Israel site by Bambili.com (in Israel). I appre­ci­ate their efforts, but, I’m not cer­tain I agree with all their positions.

I come by the name Davka.org hon­estly hav­ing been on the edi­to­r­ial board and then the edi­tor of a small jour­nal with that name pub­lished by Jew­ish stu­dents in Los Ange­les dur­ing the 1970s (more on that another time [oops, sorry, link rot, I hope I can track down the arti­cle]). I used the Eng­lish trans­la­tion of Davka: “Despite Every­thing” as the title for my editor’s col­umn there and then as the title of my col­umn in a vari­ety of syn­a­gogue bul­letins over the years.

Thank you, Jay, for remind­ing me.

Some ref­er­ences here to “myDavka:

  • The Davka Port­fo­lio Thirty Years After the World Vanished
  • Greet­ings “from the ‘youth’” offered at the annual “War­saw Ghetto Upris­ing” com­mem­o­ra­tion event spon­sored by the Jew­ish Federation-Council of Greater Los Ange­les, April 18, 1971, at Tem­ple Israel of Hol­ly­wood. (First pub­lished in Davka Vol­ume 1, Num­ber 4; Sum­mer 1971.)

And there are (or — in some cases — have been (sorry about “link rot” here, let’s try this one and see how long it remains live), indeed, other “Davkas” (here’s another) rep­re­sented on the WWW. (Wow, the word seems to be grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity.)

All of life is an art form.

A Web site (sorry again, linkrot) is one par­tic­u­lar expres­sion of a life. Some por­tions of this site (the Hag­gadah in par­tic­u­lar) are designed with their artis­tic (visual, as well as tex­tual) aspect in mind. Oth­ers exist as a weav­ing of ideas. Among the visual metaphors that come to mind when work­ing on the Web are (of course) the spider’s web, and a fisherman’s net. Each of these sug­gest both an inter­con­nect­ed­ness of the whole and an abil­ity to capture.

Yet another is the rich tapes­try of a weav­ing (I have searched the Web for a decent site main­tained by some­one “in honor” of The Weavers [Ron­nie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Heller­man and Pete Seeger] and to date [July 14, 1999 — the birth­day of Woodie Guthrie] not found one. (The best I can do is a link to a loca­tion where you can buy some of The Weavers’ record­ings.)

I do believe that infor­ma­tion “wants to be free.” (But what about “images”?) I reg­u­larly make infor­ma­tion avail­able here. (I do pro­duce a paper copy of the Hag­gadah that fam­i­lies can use at their Sedarim. This costs money. I’ve noticed that, over the past few years, as more peo­ple visit the Hag­gadah online, fewer peo­ple buy it.) I also link to other sites where you can find more. I find it odd that often I’ll offer rec­i­p­ro­cal links and not have the “favor” returned. While I do indi­cate that this mate­r­ial is © “copy­right” by me (in most instances), I sim­ply request that, if you use what you find here, you let me and oth­ers know its source. One of many famous ancient rab­binic state­ments: “One who quotes an idea in the name of its orig­i­na­tor speeds the com­ing of the mes­sianic age.”

Now that it is pro­fes­sion­ally hosted and main­tained as a blog, much of the work I’d done to sim­plify URLs and clean up the code here, should become eas­ier. If you find them, please let me know so that I can cor­rect them. I have done some work on cor­rect­ing “linkrot” I know that I have more to do and am con­cerned about those who have linked to my old site. I am now work­ing on noti­fy­ing them. As I pre­pared this site I became aware of por­tions of it that refer to infor­ma­tion that is now out­dated. I won­der how to han­dle this:

  • I save the old pages off-line. Peri­od­i­cally I save the entire site archived on disk.
  • Should pages have the date of post­ing as well as the date they were last modified?

I have a graphic that I have used on all the printed mate­ri­als that I pro­duce. I have finally (as of early May 2007) begun to use it here as well — for its visu­ally uni­fy­ing effect. I remain slightly con­cerned that oth­ers may take it for them­selves (and abuse it). “We’ll see.…”


Per­sonal Web pages rep­re­sent a new phe­nom­e­non (for a favorite exam­ple (recently expe­ri­enced an entire trans­for­ma­tion) and a won­der­ful analy­sis … you know what to do). Cor­po­rate (com­mer­cial Web sites) exist to adver­tise and sell the goods pro­duced by the com­pany. Edu­ca­tional and gov­ern­men­tal sites ful­fill a sim­i­lar func­tion. These add a venue for like-minded peo­ple to share ideas, a con­cept grow­ing in a num­ber of cor­po­rate sites that serve as the gath­er­ing ground for a “com­mu­nity of users.” There seems no rea­son why an indi­vid­ual can­not par­tic­i­pate in this process as well. In a sense, my per­sonal Web site ful­fills a vari­ety of func­tions. On the one hand, it is a “van­ity” press. On the other hand, it serves as a pub­lic repos­i­tory of mate­ri­als I make avail­able to var­i­ous audi­ences. It is as though I have taken my col­lected efforts and spread them on a table in the pub­lic square. I expect that, in time, some of these pages will require a pass­word (dis­trib­uted only to fam­ily and close friends), but that requires more script­ing knowl­edge than I cur­rently possess.


Thank you for your patience and support.