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.