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.
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 “my” Davka:
- 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.