Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The tradition of joining the world-wide Jewish community commitment to study a page of the Babylonian Talmud (2,711 pages in total) a day in a 7.5 year-long in a specific cycle -- is called Daf YomiSince the custom, minhag, began in 1923, then the entire cycle has been completed 12 times; the last one ending August 2, 2012. The current one is due to be completed in January 2020. 

I've not done it even for a day, but I have been following Jacqueline Nicholls' "Draw Yomi" Project in which she not only participates in the reading, but also she draws images from the passages and offers a short commentary or note about its contents for a decidedly personal,  21st Century feminist eye. It is a bit haiku-ish in that it is not work that is over thought, but definitely impressionistic. We are who we are when we enter the current of the big river.

A prolific artist who lives in London, Nicholls' other works are mostly in the fiber arts that address women's role in Jewish rituals, exploring the forms and intentions of minhagim, traditions, and projecting them on to personal experiences of life cycles of the body and the peoplehood. 

Today, after catching up on her daily impressions, I explored once again her website and entered "rooms" of her many thematic projects. I was struck particularly by her "Kittel" project today. A kittel is a very simple garment that an observant man (usually) will wear at his wedding, funeral and on the annual days of yom kippur in between. It is white, full length and has sleeves. A perfect canvas for such an inspired, skillful artist.

Here is her thought about the “Dignity Kittel” ...

“I used to spend Christmas volunteering at a temporary homeless shelter in London that provided basic services and support. In amongst the medical and dental care, food, hairdressing, there was a large clothing section. The guests could choose an outfit, and my job was to make sure that these garments fitted them properly, so when they stepped out in their new suit, they looked smart and dignified. We were instructed to make sure that they didn’t look like they were wearing hand-me-downs. The shelter also supplied practical warm coats, but by ensuring that there were people there to make adjustments, they recognized that clothing doesn’t just provide protection against the elements."

We have an obligation to help recognize the inherent dignity of all Beggars, Holy or not. Thus, I’m posting this in two blogs: “Trads in Contempo Life” and “Holy Beggar”.

But remember,
No matter what,
Don't forget to ask for the money.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Want to Buy a Hole?

Copyright The New Yorker
I am not kidding that I view panhandlers as colleagues. Haven't you ever wanted to correct spelling or darkened the letters on a begging board  ... not to mention turn it right side up ... ?

Be truthful. There are so many ways to help our colleagues achieve their desired result: spare change.

This cartoon from The New Yorker is another example of what is at the heart of this blog's mission: to explore the fundamental, foundational essence of redistributing resources to effect a more  dynamic flow of a society's economic resources.

What is the difference between begging and crowd-funding?

Perhaps in the former, the hat is perceived as being empty; in the latter, the perception is that there is something "inside" to bloom out of that emptiness.

To fit the Kickstarter mold, the HB (Holy Beggar) might consider putting something to exchange to show appreciation ... perhaps a slip of paper or piece of string ... to show thanks. A few low denomination coins might be nice to enable contributors to make change if all they have is a $20 but would like to give $0.20.

On another note, an empty hat may be full enough. I have friends who had a huge  hole in their newly purchased rural land. It was not really empty, as it had  a foundation laid by the original owner who abandoned a project to build a structure. My friends thought that they could fill the hole with all sorts of refuse -- rotting wood, metal parts, etc. -- that was left from the original owner, but they soon realized that the hole was much more than the sum of available stuff, so they paid a lot of money for a contractor to fill the hole with dirt.

Now, I'm thinking that perhaps there was someone out there who needed a hole or a part of it so s/he could begin to build a lake, a swimming pool, skate park or a house, and so I wondered whether my friends could advertise its availability online, Craig's List, for example.

And remember,
No Matter What,
Don't Forget to Ask for the Money!