In 1967, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach established the House of Love and Prayer, an outreach center for Jewish spiritual seekers located in San Francisco. One of its activities was the publication of "The Holy Beggars' Gazette", a gathering of Jewish wisdom authored by Reb Shlomo and others. This book brings together the contents of "The Holy Beggars' Gazette", and is presented chronologically from its beginnings in 1972 until it ceased publication in 1979. In 1966, as a result of an invitation to participate in the Berkely Folk Festival, Reb Shlomo went to San Francisco. His experiences at the festival impressed upon him the need for a Jewish outreach center in that city. It was an immediate success, resulting in thousands of disenfranchised Jews passing through during the next ten years. Reb Shlomo started the House of Love and Prayer to draw back young Jews who felt alienated by Judaism. It was the only Jewish presence in Haight-Ashbury, a gathering point for young seekers in the 1960's and 1970's. The House of Love and Prayer became a prototype for Chabad (Lubavitch) Houses, and many say that Reb Shlomo quite literally sparked the "Jewish return" movement that continues to this day. The Holy Beggars' Gazette was "60's casual," writes Kalman Serkez, the editor of this volume. It was an informal publication filled with spot drawings and designs that typically reflected the freewheeling mood of the time. Reb Shlomo once said, "I often mention 'Holy Beggars,' but people ask me, 'Who really is a Holy Beggar?" Open your hearts my most beautiful friends. A Holy Beggar is someone who is begging to allow him to give. As Elie Wiesel has written, "With his unique combination of talents, genius, charisma, warmth, idealism, sensitivity, and unconditional love, Shlomo Carlebach was a man made for his mission. Few in recent Jewish history have sacrificed and achieved so much for the Jewish people. He died almost penniless, a Holy Beggar who gave all the money he had to tzadakkah (charity)." It is unclear who authored each of the pieces in the "Holy Beggars' Gazette", but most were inspired by the teachings of Reb Shlomo. Many others made contributions as well, most notably Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.
by Kalman Serkez (editor)