Complete our annual survey—and win a prize? | Join us for more 18Forty in your WhatsApp or right in your email

Three Editors: A Conversation with Heads of the Major Jewish Publishers

Listen_Apple_ButtonListen_Spotify_ButtonListen_Google_Button

SUMMARY

In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to the heads of the three major Jewish publishing houses, Rabbi Gedaliah Zlotowitz of ArtScroll Mesorah Publications, Matthew Miller of Koren Publishers, and Altie Karper of Schocken Books.

Aside from all rejecting David Bashevkin’s work, these three pillars of Jewish publishing all share a common goal of contributing to Jewish scholarship in order to help better cultivate the Jewish People.

  • How can we use storytelling to bring out the best in others?
  • How was Koren revitalized?
  • How did some department stores in Germany turn into one of the most successful publishing houses? 

Tune in to hear a conversation about books, books, books. 

Interview begins at 13:59.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz
Rabbi Gedaliah Zlotowitz is the president of ArtScroll Mesorah Publications, as well as the president of Mesorah Heritage Foundation.

Matthew Miller
Matthew Miller is the owner and publisher of Koren Publishers. Miller founded Toby Press, which published Yehuda Avner’s The Prime Ministers along with other works, and purchased Koren Press in 2007.

Altie Karper
Altie Karper is the editorial director of Schocken Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Schocken, has a long history as a major publisher of Jewish literature and an early publisher of great thinkers such as Kafka, Rosenzweig, Buber, and Agnon, among many others.

References:

“Let Me Make You Famous”: How Hollywood Invented Ben Shapiro” by Tina Nguyen

The Jewish Bookshelf as a Site of Self-fashioning: Reflections on a Historical Phenomenon in a Contemporary Moment by Elli Fischer and David Bashevkin

Top Five, A List of Jewish Character and Characters by Dovid Bashevkin

The Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan Library of Jewish Thought by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

The Megillah: The Book of Esther

Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz by Yisrael Besser

All for the Boss by Ruchoma Shain

The Koren Tanakh

Amadeus

18Forty: Larry and Tzipora Rothwachs: Here Without You — A Child’s Eating Disorder

Biblical Images by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table: A Cookbook by Jeff and Jodie Morgan

The Patron, A Life of Salman Schocken by Anthony David

David Bashevkin:
Hello and welcome to the 18Forty podcast, where each month we explore a different topic, balancing modern sensibilities with traditional sensitivities to give you new approaches to timeless Jewish ideas. I’m your host, David Bashevkin, and this month we’re exploring books, books, books! This podcast is part of a larger exploration of those big, juicy Jewish ideas. So be sure to check out 18Forty.org, where you can also find videos, articles, and recommended readings.

So, friends, it’ss the summertime, and I know this topic sounds so strange. It is not those big, heavy theological questions that we’ve become familiar with. It’s not a heart-wrenching, experiential drama. But, for me, this is really the heart of Jewish ideas and Jewish exploration. And that is books, books, books. Why do I say it three times? It probably originated from a conversation I remember my wife was having with her mother, and her mother’s a very great cook and was going through a recipe and the Tupperware needed and I was totally spaced out, like totally spaced out. And they called me in. They’re like, “David, did you get that last thing?” And then I just looked at them. I was like, “Bowls, bowls, bowls. Bowls, bowls, bowls.” Meaning, I didn’t get anything. I know bowls are involved. And I wasn’t sure. But when I think of something that I love, I think books, books, books. So when I think of a topic that I’m excited about, I just go three times. Books, books, books. And that is what we are going to be exploring with our summer series.

So much of what we do is really having conversations that really lead to books. If you want to explore more, if you want to understand more, you really have to pick up the book and read it. And at the end of every single book, of course, is a conversation. When you finish a book, when you put it down, you want to then talk about it, discuss it. So I feel like so much of what we’re doing and the ideas that we’re exchanging on here, books are the link in that story.

Now, obviously, we’re conversation-driven. We are having podcasts, interviews, and that flows very differently than a book would. Books are written very sequentially. It has the beginning idea, the middle, and the end. Conversations are much more free flowing. So I’ve always felt that they complement each other, and people who know the things that I share online, the things that really animate me, is reading books. I’m absolutely obsessed with it. And I’m hoping that this series kicks off a new part, a segment, of what 18Forty is all about, and that is book culture, book recommendations, book ideas.

And you’ll see a lot of that launching this month. Videos dropping, book recommendations, book lists. And I hope our readers reach out and share some of the books that animate them, that excite them, some of the books that really built their expertise. Sometimes someone will ask you, “How did you learn so much about this?” And it really boils down to maybe two to five books that you can really develop an expertise. So we hope that we’re able to hear from so many of our listeners of the favorite books that animate you, that you developed your expertise with. And that’s why I’m so excited to share this series of books, books, books with you this summer that hopefully we’ll be extending throughout the year where we discuss all things books, always and forever, on 18Forty.

I remember there was a article about the great political raconteur, Ben Shapiro. It was an article in Vanity Fair, which interested me a great deal, not because I care a great deal or I’m interested a great deal in politics. I am not. Politics, I have like an allergic reaction to political conversations, but it was an article in Vanity Fair about how he built his media empire, which actually does interest me. I’m always fascinated by how you build an empire that is driven by content and ideas, which he has been incredibly successful at. But that’s not why the article was so fascinating. The article was so fascinating because of the image that was right behind Ben Shapiro.

If you squinted and looked a little bit closely, you will notice that right behind Ben Shapiro were his sefarim shelf. And you can see in that picture a set of the Koren Talmud, the translated Rambam, a very clear picture of the ArtScroll set of mishnayos. And I remember I shared this on Twitter, and I wrote, “The only thing I care about right now is just squinting and trying to make out what are those sefarim? What are those books on his shelf?” And this started like a momentary, I don’t want to call it a craze, that’s a bit much, but a momentary fad on Twitter, in particular, where people were sharing specifically their, not selfies, but ‘shelfies’, pictures of what was going on in the background.

This was actually before COVID broke out and Zoom images of what were going on in people’s offices. This was well before this. This was in December of 2018. And this trend began where people were sharing pictures of their shelves, what we affectionately called a ‘shelfie’. And we were literally like psychoanalyzing them. There was ‘shelfie’ analysis of explaining and exploring what kind of person you are just based on what books are on your shelf.

And I’ve always felt that your shelf is the way you fashion your own sense of self. And, in fact, believe it or not, there is an academic article for anything and everything. And there was actually a conference after COVID-19 broke out about this phenomenon, about how people disclosed and showed their personality, their sense of self, based on what was on their shelves. And I and my dearest friend, Elli Fischer, contributed to this conference with a presentation called The Jewish Bookshelf as a Site of Self-fashioning: Reflections on a Historical Phenomenon in a Contemporary Moment, where we literally discussed how the things that you cite, the books that you include in your scholarship, are really how you fashion your personality.

What did Rav Yosef Karo have on his bookshelf? What does he cite in his Shulchan Aruch within Beit Yosef? What does Rav Hutner quote in his Pachad Yitzchak? Rav Hutner, the great rosh yeshiva of Chaim Berlin was very peculiar and specific about what he was willing to quote in his works and what he was, even more importantly, not willing to quote.

The same is true of Rav Tzadok, the great chassidic master, who I constantly refer back to. Reb Tzadok was very influenced by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. It was the focus of my Master’s thesis, but not once in all of his sefarim does he, in fact, quote him. Who we quote, who we include on our shelves, is always an indication of what kind of person we are trying to present ourselves to to the world. And I’m always suspicious of people who have nothing on their shelves. Sometimes I go to somebody’s house and I look around and I’m like, “What? This person has nothing to read.” And during those long Shabbos meals, I think I’ve mentioned in the past, I will absolutely freak out. If you have nothing on your… like I’ve read the introduction to Kosher by Design, I think, volumes one, two and three. Just if I can’t find any, I will read the phone book. I’m going to read the introduction to the cookbook.

I will freak out. I need shelves that have personality. Doesn’t have to be Jewish history. It doesn’t have to be Jewish, but I need shelves that have personality if we’re going to be friends. So I’m always interested in looking at people’s shelves. And I think all of the different publishers, all the different types of books, have their own personalities. And that’s why I wanted to begin our exploration of Jewish books by speaking to who, in my opinion, are the three great pillars of Jewish publishing. Now, of course, this is not to exclude so many of the other great publishers of Jewish books. Lord knows, if you look at this list, I have not published by any of them. I have been rejected by all three of them. God bless them. I’ve been rejected by all three of them. I’ll tell you in a little bit how and why, but the three pillars of Jewish publishing, in my mind, and again, write in those letters, tell me why I’m wrong.

But the three pillars, in my opinion, are ArtScroll, Schocken Books and, number three, Koren Publishers. And we, in this episode, are speaking to the heads of all three of these major publishers, who I am privileged to have a relationship with all three of these major publishers. When do they reject? Well, each of them have rejected me. Altie, who is my cousin, who, cousin by marriage, fake cousin with air quotes, I always send her my writing. My writing is a little too either academic or too much narishkeit for Altie. I would never ever blame her. I almost don’t even ask her anymore. I just said, “Where would this work? I know it’s not for you.” And she’s always incredibly kind, incredibly gracious. ArtScroll was kind enough. I begged, I pleaded, I wanted so badly for them to publish my Top Five, the book that I eventually published with Israel Bookshop Publications, and I begged ArtScroll.

I said, “Please, you guys are the best. Please publish this.” And they looked at me and snorted with laughter. Top Five, A List of Jewish Character and Characters. It was a collection of my articles for MishpachaMagazine. Really top-shelf narishkeit, if I may say so. And ArtScroll was not interested, though my objection is noted for the record. I do think ArtScroll should be publishing more humor, more comedy. Why not? Why not ArtScroll publish comedy? They publish cookbooks. They publish stories. Why not publish comedy? And maybe my next comedy book, which I am not working on, nor do I have any plans to do, but maybe if we ever republish this, ArtScroll will come back and say, “You know what? We did Schottenstein. We did the Talmud. We did the Ramban. We translated so much. The next frontier is the comedy writings of David Bashevkin.”

I hope one day to get that email. I don’t expect it anytime soon. And finally, Koren Publishers, who I also have a very close relationship with, didn’t reject, they just weren’t that excited when I sent them my book, Sin-a-gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought. They weren’t chomping at the bits, to put it lightly, but I have no doubt that the time will come where we will be working and publishing together and it is really my privilege today to speak with the heads of each of these major, major publishers, to talk about the personality. What do these publishers represent? What kind of books do they publish? What are the ins and outs of how they got started? And that is why I am excited, first and foremost, to start with ArtScroll. Now my relationship with ArtScroll is quite deep and quite serious. We published together this past year the NCSY collection of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s writings.

We republished them. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, who was a great genius of Jewish thought, who died in the early 1980s at too young an age. But he was hired by Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, who also recently passed away, to share and kind of create a library of essential classics for NCSY. And Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, who is a genius of geniuses, did exactly that. Probably his most famous work was If You Were God. Really a phenomenal book. I remember when it was first introduced to me by my counselor on NCSY Kollel, Rabbi Yehuda Balsam, who was a madrich at the time. He is now a rabbi in DRS. I remember he handed me the copy, he looked at me and says, “What do you mean if?” He said it with his classic dry sense of humor. If You Were God. Really a phenomenal book. And he also wrote books on tefillin, on the principles of Maimonides, what’s known as the yud gimmel ikkarim.

He wrote a absolute classic on mikvah, on the ritual bath that people immerse in called Waters of Eden. And we republished them as a beautiful set, which is available in Artscroll. So Artscroll and I really are partners from the very beginning and their work is really absolutely phenomenal. And that is why I am so excited. Despite being so busy, he was driving, we could not find him. We kept on missing each other and couldn’t find the time to speak, but Rav Gedaliah. And let me just say a shout out to his son, Aaron Zlotowitz, who’s really been an incredible partner and friend, beginning with the founder of ArtScroll, Rev Meir Zlotowitz, have really been incredible partners to the work that I have done along with NCSY. And that is why it is such a privilege that Rav Gedaliah took the time.

He was driving. He said, “Look, we’re going to make this happen.” He was driving to the mountains so I really apologize. Some of the quality of the call is not what we are normally used to, but I really wanted to include him because he’s been such an incredible friend and partner in everything that we do. So it’s really our absolute pleasure to begin our tour of the great Jewish publishers with our conversation with Rav Gedaliah Zlotowitz.

So I’m talking to a lot of the major heads of the Jewish publishing world. And you obviously are the head of ArtScroll right now. And I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about why did ArtScroll get started? There were other publishing houses. What exactly prompted the start of ArtScroll?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Well, my father started ArtScroll as a publishing house. He did not intend for it to be a publishing house. You’re asking the question, I guess you never saw the film on my father’s life. But my father is an artist by trade and when he was 21, he started a business called ArtScroll, but he was doing kesubos and calligraphy. And that’s how they got the name ArtScroll. And in 1976, he had a good friend who passed away without leaving any children. His friend was in his thirties. And my father always loved writing. And he decided that by the shloshim, he would do a translation and commentary on the Megillas Esther for, in time for Purim. It was like two months before Purim when his friend was niftar. He stayed up many nights, he slept two hours a night. They were there just to get it done by the shloshim and he decided to print whatever 2,000 copies I think it was. And the first year alone, they sold 20,000 copies.

David Bashevkin:
Wow.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
He saw there was such a thirst for Torah knowledge. True, authentic Torah knowledge based on rabbinic sources and midrashim that he decided you know, Megillas Esther went so well for Purim might as well do Megillas Rus for Shavuos, and same reaction. The overwhelming positive reaction. People were so excited that, for the first time, they were able to get something like this and he went on, he continued, he did Eichafor Tisha B’Av. And then the rest is history. I always say the success of ArtScroll is because he didn’t plan on it. HaShem just put everything in place. He did it as a chesed for a friend who passed away. And, as we say, the rest is history.

David Bashevkin:
I grew up reading all of the ArtScroll biographies. And there’s something really amazing that I noticed specifically in the biography of your father. You know, a lot of people, and I think very unfairly so, criticize ArtScroll for whitewashing and not telling the whole story about the struggles of the gedolim, Jewish leaders. But in the biography of your father, there is a story that I’ve shared. And it was so impactful to me that he was divorced. And the night, or soon after he got divorced, he went to his rebbi. Rav Moshe Feinstein and wanted to get a little bit of comfort and Rav Moshe wasn’t able to give him the time or the attention that he was looking for and noticed. And later that night it was in the middle of the winter, he heard a knock on the door and it was Rav Moshe Feinstein, who came in to comfort him and to tuck in the children. I assumed you were one of them.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Yes.

David Bashevkin:
I’m curious, number one. You remember that night?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
No, I was five years old. I do not remember. But when I read the story, I was just as amazed. And it’s such an emotional story.

David Bashevkin:
Can I ask you a question about the story? I mean, it’s a jaw dropping story. And I, personally, I had interacted with your father specifically through NCSY. Was always so gracious to the work that we do. I was surprised that you included a story about his divorce. Was it a conversation whether or not that should be included in his biography?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
When I spoke to our dear friend, Sruli Besser, about writing the biography, I told him that the most important thing, to me, is that we tell the truth about my father’s shortcomings. Because that is the story. Everyone would think that Meir Zlotowitz was born a genius and everything went great for him in his life. I always say… I spoke last week at Rabbi Senter’s yeshiva in Yerushalayim and I paint this picture about this kid who was overweight, who couldn’t play sports, who went to camp and he had a very bad stutter. You know, the kid you would label today as the born loser. And then when people hear that was Meir Zlotowitz, they can’t believe it.

David Bashevkin:
Wow.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
And, to me, telling that story and writing the story in the biography and I spoke to my siblings and they were all on board with this that to just tell the story of Meir Zlotowitz, the genius, what he created, it’s a nice story. It’s a feel good story, but it’s not going to help anyone. And my father’s whole life was about encouraging people to bring out the best in them. And it comes out through the biography. And the only way to do that is to let people know you could have a struggle, but you could overcome it and change the world. So it was a conscious decision to do that.

David Bashevkin:
It’s an incredible biography. And I found it really deeply moving. I mean, I love, really, all the ArtScroll biographies, but if there’s one that I recommend, it’s really that one, because it tells that story. I’m curious now that there’s been a major leadership transition. You run ArtScroll now and you’ve taken over this massive publishing house that has already translated all the Talmud. It’s already translated most of the main rishonim on chumash, the Ramban. It’s later the Ohr HaChaim. For you, what do you feel like is the next frontier for ArtScroll?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
So what we’re seeing is that people are learning more than they ever have in the past. If I would tell you thirty years ago, that you’ll meet a regular baalebos and he’s learning Daf Yomi and devoting an hour a day, and many people more than that, to learning Daf Yomi and going through Shas and being proud to go through Shas, you would say, “It’s impossible. That was meant for very special people.”

You know we’re lucky in communities now, in between mincha and maariv, to grab an Ain Yaakov shiur here, you know, speak about aggadatah. But that people are learning Gemara is an incredible thing. And it’s really widespread on a level that’s unprecedented. What we’re finding is that people are looking for more. They’re searching for more. And they went through the cycle of Daf Yomi once, twice, some people are on their fourth time. But I don’t believe there’s a real sense of fulfillment. You know we always say the difference between ruchinyus and gashmius is that when you deal with ruchniyus the more you learn, the more you learn Torah, the more spiritual you get, the more you want. You never get full of it. You want more.

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Whereas when it comes to a davar gashmi, you could love a delicious rib steak. But if I put five of them in front of you and you finish them, and another five, at a certain point-

David Bashevkin:
Enough already.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
…you’re so disgusted, you wouldn’t even want to look at a rib steak for weeks. So we are finding that the thirst for Torah knowledge, and deeper Torah knowledge, is just growing. And that’s why the project I personally am so excited about now is the Tosfos project. I received an email last week from a fellow by the name of Ken Wilson. You’ll read this email, David. You’re going to be blown away. I can send it to you. He told me I’m allowed to share it.

David Bashevkin:
Please.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
This is a fellow who grew up as a Reform Jew. He said he barely knew how to read Hebrew. For his bar mitzvah he memorized the parsha and he got through it. In his twenties, he became a lawyer and he was in the army. He was a lawyer for the army. He moved to Norfolk, he’s stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and he’s outside and he meets somebody, a Jew. And the person tells him, “Why don’t you come to a shiur.” He didn’t know what a shiur was. He didn’t go to an Orthodox shul. He only knew about Reform. He didn’t even know… He was in his young twenties. He didn’t know there was such a thing as Torah Sh’Baal Peh.

This is what he writes me in email. “I never heard of such a thing. I knew the Five Books of Moses. That’s it.” He said, “I started learning. I became religious. I started learning Daf Yomi. And I just knew was more to Torah.” He says, five years ago, someone gave him a preview edition that we did on Tosfos Makkos.

He started learning Tosfos. He said, “A day doesn’t go by that he doesn’t learn Tosfos, that he doesn’t think about Tosfos. He can’t imagine a day in his life without Tosfos. He already made his siyum on Makkos with Tosfos. He just made a siyum on Brachos.

David Bashevkin:
Wow.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
And he’s starting Sukkah now. This is a person who, until in the twenties didn’t know Torah Sh’Baal Pehexisted. But once he started learning, he knew that there was more and more and deeper an understanding. And I believe that’s where the trend is. I think that we’re living in a world where people want deeper learning, higher-level learning. And that’s where it’s going on one end. At the same time, we’re seeing people turn a little more to chassidus. You know, they like that idea of learning some chassidus and we do get requests. And we’re actually publishing, in September, the Kedushas Levi, an elucidation of Kedushas Levion chumash.

David Bashevkin:
Wow. Wow. I did not know that. That’s very exciting.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Yeah. It’s going to be fascinating where that takes us. It’s two totally different tracks, but that’s the thirst of people to broaden their Torah knowledge.

David Bashevkin:
Correct. It’s the same track. It’s the track of hungry for that spirituality and substance that you’ve been providing all these years. You and I worked on this project together, a partnership between NCSY and ArtScroll, where we republished the Aryeh Kaplan books. So much of what ArtScroll has done has really been creating quality literature, not just for Tosfos and for advanced study, but for children and teenagers. What demographic do you feel like is the most underserved by Jewish publishers that we need to serve? We need to find more things to publish for them.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
I would say probably ages 11 to 15.

David Bashevkin:
Yes. Yes.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
I think we have a lot of literature for younger children, illustrated children’s books. And there’s a lot for adults. But that age of that child becoming bar or bat mitzvah. To speak to them on their level, in their language, examples that relate to them in the society they’re growing up in, I think that is one of the key demographics that’s losing out right now that we’re trying to focus on.

David Bashevkin:
And I am going to be your partner in that. We’ve spoken about that many times. And you should know my son, he’s still in the six year old demographic, so he reads the Uncle Moishy Comes as a Shabbos Guest. That’s his favorite book. He reads it every single night before he goes to sleep.

I promise you, we try to be brief. I’m curious. Is there a Jewish book that you love, that is a non-ArtScroll book? Now, I’m not talking about a classic, like a Rashba or one of the rishonim. But is there a book that ArtScroll didn’t publish, didn’t get to, that is still one of your favorites?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Listen, I remember growing up when I was newly married, maybe I was a teenager still. And Feldheim came out with a book, All for the Boss.

David Bashevkin:
Ah.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
That’s a book that just, it just touches your neshama. To see how Mr. Herman or was it a Rabbi Herman, or he liked to be called Mr. Herman.

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Grew up in an America that our children can’t even imagine. They hear about being moser nefesh for Shabbos. If they think that means turning off your cell phone. But to hear about a generation where every Friday you were fired from your job and that there were people who held on strong and begged people to send their children to yeshiva and opened up yeshiva. And everyone was mocking them and laughing at them and going against the trend.

That’s a book that just spoke to me, because we have things in our life that we just have to be able to stay focused and not be swept away by the tides of society. And a book like that shows you that these people didn’t. And because of that, they have generations in their own families of shomer Torah umitzvos. And the amount of families that they save in a spiritual way is beyond imagination.

David Bashevkin:
No, it’s an-

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
That’s what really spoke to me.

David Bashevkin:
… It’s an incredible book. In the back of my head, I was hoping that you would say my own book, the Top Five, which ArtScroll passed on, but it’s okay. I think All for the Boss definitely surpasses my own.

It’s a good number, too. It’s a good number, too.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Exactly.

David Bashevkin:
I always ask my guest a rapid fire question. I’m curious if somebody gave you just an unlimited amount of resources and allowed you personally to take a sabbatical and go back to school and either get a PhD or write your own book, what book would you want to write if you had no other responsibilities?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Again, are you talking about a classic or a topic?

David Bashevkin:
A topic.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
I would love to, again, be able to get into the head of a teenager, a struggling teenager. And this is a passion of mine, and make them believe that they just have to focus on the skills and the talents that HaShem gave them. And they should use it and not worry about what everyone else is doing and everyone else’s accomplishments are. But really look into themselves and say, I was put on this world for a purpose. I’m going to figure out what that is. And I’m going to go ahead and do it.

To me it’s a passion. I spent my summers in Camp Munk, there as a counselor, a head counselor. Now, my wife is the camp mother, and I look at these boys who go to yeshiva, and not everyone could make it in yeshiva. And many of them struggle. They feel like they’re in this box. And camp is an opportunity for them to use talents that they have.

And every time I have a chance to speak to them, it’s to stress this message of don’t let anyone get you down. Don’t look at what other people are accomplishing. Look at your talents and accomplish what you can. I was last week in Eretz Yisrael for my father’s Yartzheit. He’s one of the maggidei shiur at the Mir. He told me such a beautiful story. He said that someone went to the rebbe Rav Zusha. And he said, if you could be Avraham Avinu would you want to be Avraham Avinu ?

He answered it brilliantly. He said that I would be Avraham Avinu then Avraham Avinu would have to be the rebbe Rav Zusha. Because HaShem doesn’t need two Avraham Avinus. Avraham Avinu had his mission, and the rebbe Rav Zusha had his mission.

There’s no point for me being Avraham Avinu. Avraham Avinu did what he has to do as Avraham Avinu, but I have to do what I can as the rebbe Rav Zusha. And I think that message is so important for today’s generation. There’s so much noise and there’s so much… Kids feel so down, because they’re on social media and they’re watching what their friends are doing, what other people are doing and it’s such a fake world.

My daughter always uses an example about this couple gets married and they’re a few months into the marriage. And on Instagram, the wife takes a picture of this gorgeous gourmet dinner. She makes her husband a post-it. And you think of all the jealousy. All the ugh, look at that wife. But they don’t show the picture that 10 minutes before they were arguing. And ten minutes later, she’s giving him a hard time because he didn’t help clean up. He’s complaining about this.
That, you don’t see.

David Bashevkin:
Mm-hmm.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
And it’s a very dangerous world. And we have to give our youth the confidence that they have a mission that no one else in this world has.

David Bashevkin:
I absolutely love that. My final question, always, is I’m always fascinated by people’s sleep schedule. So if you’ll indulge me, what time do you go to sleep at night? And what time do you wake up in the morning?

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
I try to be asleep at 11:30 and I get up at about 5:30 in the morning.

David Bashevkin:
Rav Gedaliah, I cannot thank you enough. I know you’re so busy. I’m so glad I was able to catch you. It really means a lot. Im yirtzeh HaShem, we’ll catch up in person at the offices and plan together our next project.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
Thank you, David. You should have continued hatzlacha in your amazing avodas hakodesh, especially in dealing with those youth. Tell them. I’ll leave you one vort. I always say this over. We wake up every morning, we say modeh ani lefanecha. We thank HaShem for giving us another day. And we end rabbah emunasecha. We’re talking to HaShem when we say rabbah emunasecha. Great is your emunah, is your belief. Pashut great is our belief, no we’re in the middle of telling HaShem

David Bashevkin:
Beautiful.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
… Us. You believe that we could accomplish our mission. Let’s not waste it.

David Bashevkin:
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you, again, so, so much and hope that we are in touch soon.

Gedaliah Zlotowitz:
You should be blessed. Thank you.

David Bashevkin:
Be well Rav Gedaliah. Thank you again. That story that’s included in the ArtScroll biography of Meir Zlotowitz is something that has absolutely, always moves me. And the fact that Rav Meir Zlotowitz, the founder of ArtScroll. And ArtScroll gets this rap of only including the highlight reel in their biographies and the leaders, and is the farthest thing from the truth. In the actual biography of Rav Meir Zlotowitz, which is really so deeply moving.

Somebody who struggled with his looks, with a stutter, and this story of his divorce and how Rav Moshe Feinstein came out, is really something that has always stayed with me. When I read this within the biography, I mean, my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. I’ll read the relevant lines from that biography right now, because I found it so, so deeply moving.

In 1971, he, referring to Meir Zlotowitz and his wife divorced. At the darkest point, the flicker of light that ushered in the brighter days came from the most radiant man in Rav Meir Zlotowitz’s world, his rebbi, Rav Moshe Feinstein. It came at a time when Rav Meir felt he had hit rock bottom. The business was in debt, he was raising three children on his own, and his friends were busy with their own lives while he was alone.

He wasn’t able to learn properly since after long, wearing days at work, he would come home and take care of his children. He went to Rav Moshe’s Lower East Side apartment, waiting in the family foyer for a chance to share his pain with his beloved rosh yeshiva.

But Rav Moshe was meeting with a group of rabbis involved in a complicated halachic issue. He returned home, the load feeling heavier than ever before. The next day, New York suffered a major snowstorm, making car travel difficult. Schools were closed and Rav Meir had spent the day at home watching his young children. That evening, as the harried young father struggled to get the children to bed, the doorbell rang. Rav Meir walked downstairs and opened the door, wondering who could have ventured out in the snowy night.

It was Rav Moshe Feinstein, the rosh yeshiva, posek of his generation and leader of thousands, accompanies his talmid up several flights of stairs, coming into the apartment and taking in the scene. Rav Moshe lifted one child, then the next, and finally the third one. He tucked each one into bed, telling them a story, kissing them goodnight.

Then when the house was settled, Rav Moshe looked at Rav Meir. “I came to schmooze, to hear what’s on your mind,” he said. Rav Meir spoke, really spoke, sharing his doubts and fears about his future, and Rav Moshe listened.

The story like that, really just my esteem, for Rav Moshe Feinstein, of course, but for Rav Meir Zlotowitz to really come from nothing and have a struggling business and to have created ArtScroll in the memory of a friend who died without children, just the whole founding story is everything that ArtScroll has come to contribute to the world of being able to preserve the memory of somebody and to take the great edifice of Jewish ideas and to preserve that in the English language for the world, is a merit that is really unspeakably huge.

And the foundational story of how deeply moving and emotional and how honest and upright they are with their own struggles is really something that we don’t normally associate with ArtScroll, but we should give them all the credit in the world. It’s a biography that if you haven’t read already, Rav Meir Zlotowitz, which is one of the foundational personalities of American Judaism.

And to learn more about him and his contribution and what ArtScroll’s all about is something that you really, really should take the moment, open up the biography written by my dearest friend, Sruli Besser, who was my editor when I used to work for Mishpacha Magazine. Take a look. It is really, really some of the most moving things that I have ever read.

But it’s not just ArtScroll. I feel like I have an ArtScroll heart, but in many ways, a lot of the more intellectual essays that I like to read are from our friends at Koren, and Koren, of course, are the dearest friends and have really contributed so much to the work that I do really within NCSY as well. The same way that we partnered with ArtScroll for the Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan Collection, we partnered with Koren when NCSY published the NCSY siddur that was edited by my friend and former colleague, Dr. Debbie Stone, really an incredible scholar in her own right.

And while we were working together, she partnered with Koren and published this incredible NCSY siddur, siddur for NCSY teens. She did an incredible job of that. It was through that I met and really became quite enamored with the great Matthew Miller, a personality of personalities, no holds barred.

I worked with him more when I worked with Koren, and we did such incredible work together. I got to know Matthew a lot more. He is really an incredible personality and Koren has been so incredibly generous to me, really on a personal level. I remember I shared that I am working with Tablet Magazine and Take One, the podcast that I work with, my friend, Liel Leibovitz and the Take One podcast team.

And we include these short ideas about the daily Daf and Daf Yomi, the daily Talmud. And Koren heard that I was doing it, and guess what showed up at my door? An entire set of Koren Talmud. That is not a small thing. That is a very generous gift. And Koren has always been so incredibly generous, just sending me their latest books, their latest works.

And really, all of my friends out there in Koren are friends to the 18Forty Podcast. We’ve had so many of their authors on our show and plan on only having more, which is why it was such a pleasure and privilege to have our friend Matthew Miller, the head of Koren Publishers.

What’s the origin of Koren? Why was it started?

Matthew Miller:
Let me give you Adam Rishon and Adam Beit.

David Bashevkin:
Adam One and Adam Two. The two origin stories.

Matthew Miller:
Yeah. Yeah. The origin story. Koren was started in the 1950s. Actually, it was officially formed in 1962, set up by Mr. Koren, who was a refugee from Germany. And, I guess, he came from Germany in 1933, so he got out at a relatively good time. Came to Israel, and I guess he was part of that… He’s what I want to call the heroic generation. And he was a graphic designer. He designed, he worked for the Sochnut. He designed the City of Jerusalem emblem, with the lion rampant.

And he had this… How do you say juk? He had this obsession?

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
With the texts of the Tanach. I guess one of the good things about this being audio is you cut wherever you want if I’m going on too long.

David Bashevkin:
No.

Matthew Miller:
I don’t know if you’re aware, but all Tanach texts. There were printers in the 15th century in what’s called Incunabula Period, Jewish printers very early on, in Italy, in Portugal, I think in Spain? Not sure about Spain, it’s really in Portugal, that produced Jewish texts.

However, by around 1500, the church clamped down on this new technology and you had to have a license to publish anything. And they, of course, worked with Bomberg, Daniel Bomberg, who was actually a Catholic.

David Bashevkin:
Mm-hmm.

Matthew Miller:
Bomberg was working in Venice. And you know, he did some magnificent work, the Talmud, the mikraot gedolot, all that stuff that’s still used today, but they used the Christian version of the Tanach text. And that’s what Jews used for about 450 years.

As part of the whole Zionist return to the land movement, Mr. Koren felt that you have to have a Jewish-edited Tanach text. And at that time… This is in the fifties before The Aleppo Codex was taken out and burned. Well, half of it was burnt. The oldest, of course, was The Leningrad Codex.

David Bashevkin:
Mm-hmm. Sure.

Matthew Miller:
So, he put together a team. It took him about 10 years. I’m giving a really short form of this. He put together a team that restored the text, restored the original parshiyot, made thousands of corrections, and that became the Tanach Koren, which is the quasi-official Tanach of the land, of even the State of Israel today.

So he designed a typeface just for the Tanach, because he felt Tanach should have his own typeface, not used for anything else. But that’s the kind of guy he was.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
Obsessive, compulsive in the best sense of the word. He did that. He brought it out. It was a real big, huge event here.

David Bashevkin:
It was successful. Sold a couple copies.

Matthew Miller:
Very successful, and it been so. And then in the 1970s, 80s, he came out with siddurim and machzorim, again with his crew of scholars, including Rav Medan’s father and Rav Goldhaber. And he even designed a separate font for that.

David Bashevkin:
Koren is always very proud of its fonts. I always admire… I happen to be font obsessive, but I love that Koren always like highlights, we have our own special font.

Matthew Miller:
Well, it’s very funny. So, I asked one of our senior typographers who was trained by Mr. Koren. Her name is Esther Bear. She was hired in the seventies or eighties. Yeah, she was hired in the seventies, she’s been with the company for 50 years, 40 or 50 years. And I said, “Why did Mr. Koran never do a Rashi? A chumashwith Rashi?”

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
And she said, “He never liked the Rashi script.”

David Bashevkin:
Font-motivated.

Matthew Miller:
He never… And then this is where it gets extra interesting. I’m going to go ahead and come back. About ten years ago, we were moving offices and we found a box that hadn’t been opened in many, many decades. We found hand-drawn Rashi fonts.

David Bashevkin:
He was attempting to reinvent the Rashi script.

Matthew Miller:
He almost finished it. So, what we did is, we finished it, digitalized it, and now our chumash with Rashi is beautiful and the most legible Rashi font available. We sell it in Israel very successfully. And we’ll be introducing in the States as well, because it’s his Rashi.

Sounds crazy, but that’s the way it was. Anyway, the company went on and it was selling. It had like four people in the company, three people in the company who opened up at eight, close at one, that was it for the day. And then I acquired the company in 2007.

David Bashevkin:
Why would you buy a publishing company? Were you a publisher? Were you a writer? Or were you just bored?

Matthew Miller:
Angels rush in where… Sorry. Fools rush in where angels dare not tread. Let me back up. I, despite my Brooklyn accent, I lived in England for over 20 years. Went to university there, came back. Worked there, and that six months I was working there, turned into 18 years.

David Bashevkin:
What industry were you working in, in England?

Matthew Miller:
Heavy industrial products, heavy consumer products.

David Bashevkin:
Doesn’t sound like a publisher.

Matthew Miller:
Wasn’t a publisher, but we had about a dozen subsidiaries and I was literally on a plane probably almost, certainly every week, but almost every day because we had subsidiaries from Ireland to Hungary. I would fly to China, I’d fly to Spain. We were working very, very hard for twenty years. Not I’m not working hard now.

And he… I’m a bookaholic. You ever get onto an airplane and you forget to bring a book?

David Bashevkin:
I happen to be a bookaholic. Between me, you, and the doorpost, I hope my rebbeim aren’t listening. I’m a movie guy on airplanes. I have a hard time reading on airplanes.

Matthew Miller:
Well, that’s… I won’t tell your rebbeim if you don’t tell your rebbeim. But when you’re flying between, let’s say, London and Germany or Italy and Paris, there are no movies.

David Bashevkin:
Okay. So, yes. Then I would have my book. I would more likely an article or magazine, but yes. I’d be fidgety.

Matthew Miller:
Yeah. I can’t be without a book. God knows how many I have. So, when the company in Europe was sold, we decided to make aliyah. And like a lot of people in their early middle age, I reinvented myself. And I knew I loved books. And I also knew that I didn’t have it in me to write. Did you ever see the movie Amadeus?

David Bashevkin:
Yes. I know the movie Amadeus.

Matthew Miller:
It’s fascinating, because it was written by a Jew. It was originally in Broadway or the West End in London. And it’s a story… I’m meandering, but you’ll see my point. And it’s about a composer in Vienna called Salieri, and Salieri is an important composer. And he’s given many commissions. He’s very successful. He meets Mozart, who is this disgusting, foul mouth creature who writes the most beautiful music.

David Bashevkin:
Mm-hmm.

Matthew Miller:
And he can’t reconcile this fact that, how does God work that he creates this person? And he dedicates… Now, this is where I… He dedicates to the rest of the movie, how to kill Mozart. That’s what the whole thing is about. How to revenge, because God gave Mozart the talent. And he says, he gave me the talent to appreciate it, the ability to appreciate it, but not compose it. Okay. I’m the anti-Salieri, he gave me the ability to appreciate scholarship, to appreciate writing, and not the talent to do it.

David Bashevkin:
Gotcha.

Matthew Miller:
So instead, I became a publisher.

David Bashevkin:
Gotcha.

Matthew Miller:
So, at least I could enable other people to do so. I started Toby Press, which was… We shlepped along a bit. We did some good stuff. You probably know Yehuda Avner’s The Prime Ministers?

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Matthew Miller:
That was massively successful, made into a couple of movies. And it wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t find it satisfying, because when you’re in the trade book business, it’s never about the publishers or, or the brand. Like if I said to you, “Quick. Who is Steven King’s publisher? Your answer is, I don’t know.

David Bashevkin:
I have no idea. Yeah. Correct.

Matthew Miller:
Exactly. And everything is book to book to book and there’s no building blocks, if you know what I mean.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
And it was very frustrating for me. And then, I mention the British background because, of course, England’s a small community. Everybody knows everybody. And I got to know Rabbi Sacks who was the chief rabbi.

I had heard, and then we made aliyah in ’99. I heard around 2004, five, six, my dates were fuzzy, he was looking for a Jewish publisher. He wanted to publish his siddur out of England, which was the official… He wanted to do some others, so he was looking for a Jewish publisher as opposed to a trade publisher for his quote ‘secular’ books.

David Bashevkin:
Gotcha.

Matthew Miller:
I made aliyah, I fell in love with Koren. It pushed all my buttons. It was the design-

David Bashevkin:
At this point, you don’t own Koren yet, do you?

Matthew Miller:
No, no, no, no, but I’m about to now with this.

David Bashevkin:
Okay.

Matthew Miller:
I fell in love with it before because, I mean, I knew it was highest academic standards, the highest scholarship standards, and I’m a want-to-be academic. The design is fabulous as we know. The last thing is, it’s Zionist.

All my buttons were pushed, and I thought, “Well, if I could buy it and revitalize it, and maybe publish…” And people in America kind of knew about it, but not really.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
It was enough of a Orthodox space that I felt I could take this and make it a vehicle for publishing initially Rabbi Sacks’s stuff in English.

The siddur came out. I bought it in 2007. Two years, we worked very hard, we had to digitalize everything. It was a lot of homework to do, and we brought up the Sacks siddur in 2009. It was very successful. Then a couple years later, we brought out the machzorim, Rosh HaShana.

David Bashevkin:
Beautiful. Yes. So let me ask you this question. When you say a book is very successful, maybe you could let us peek behind the publisher’s cloak. Give me kind of the bell curve of what it means to be a successful book in the Jewish world. What does that mean? Your average book, let’s say, not Rabbi Sacks. Somebody who they publish a fine book on, I don’t know, their ideas on the parsha, their essays. How many copies should that expect to sell?

Matthew Miller:
Listen, there’s an expression in England. It goes, how long is a piece of string?

David Bashevkin:
What do you mean by that?

Matthew Miller:
Exactly. It’s different courses for different horses.

David Bashevkin:
Uh-huh.

Matthew Miller:
In other words, if you are bringing… For example, we work very closely with YU RIETS and people like that. Now, if they bring out a book on halacha, that’s Daniel, Rabbi Feldman.

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Matthew Miller:
Who was-

David Bashevkin:
Former guest, a close friend.

Matthew Miller:
When he brings out a book, we’re selling… They’re doing halacha titles to a very, very high, and I don’t want to say esoteric, standard, but it’s not-

David Bashevkin:
It’s nitty gritty. It’s not for the masses necessarily.

Matthew Miller:
Yes. I mean, if that book sells a couple of thousand copies, we’re thrilled because there’s not that many people who are going to be learning at that level. If we’re talking about Rabbi Sacks’s book, we’re talking in the many, many, many thousands.

David Bashevkin:
More than tens of thousands, you think?

Matthew Miller:
Yeah. So it all depends on the title. There’s no one rule.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah. Aside from Rabbi Sacks, who I think it’s fair to say, is the crown jewel of Koren.

Matthew Miller:
He is a crown jewel.

David Bashevkin:
A crown jewel.

Matthew Miller:
A crown jewel. A couple years later, Rabbi Steinsaltz’s organization went through a change, and the new director, who was Rabbi Steinsaltz’s son, approached me and we said, “Look, we would like to work with a publishing partner.” And within a very, very short time, this is probably around 2000… I’m trying to remember when the cycle started. The cycle before this current one on the Talmud, was it 2011? He said, “Look, we need a partner to publish. We need a partner, but we want to concentrate on a scholarship. We need somebody to work with.”

So we ended up very quickly making an agreement to publish in Hebrew and English. They were also looking for a publisher in France, but we didn’t have… From a printing side, we could do it. But from a distribution side, in France, Belgium and Quebec, we have no distribution. Look, we do in Quebec, but it’s a small Jewish market. So we worked together very hard, very quickly. We brought out the Koren Talmud Bavli in tandem with the news cycle.

David Bashevkin:
Did you work directly with Rav Steinsaltz in developing that plan or was he already kind of like more on the behind the scenes or less active in the actual management?

Matthew Miller:
I worked with him. I met with him many, many, many times, but by this point, his two sons, Meni and Amechaye, were actually running the… Amechaye is more the scholarship brother and Meni is more the commercial brother. I don’t know if you remember, Thomas Nisell was in there.

David Bashevkin:
Okay.

Matthew Miller:
He passed away. So I was not working with Rav Steinsaltz on a daily basis, but I do know he reviewed everything. He was also working on other projects, his Tanach which came out later and other things. Slowly, we made many, many, I guess, partnerships. We made a partnership with YU, which has been a very happy one, a partnership with the OU Press. We made partnerships with Yeshivat Har Etzion.

David Bashevkin:
We have a partnership with NCSY. We did a siddur together.

Matthew Miller:
Excuse me. Oh, well, they’re OU. No, but there are many parts of the OU. So parts of the OU were the NCSY section.

David Bashevkin:
Sure.

Matthew Miller:
We work with Yachad for creating that siddur, we work with the OU Press. So we work with the different parts of OU. We’ll be doing Rav Kaplan’s books in Hebrew.

David Bashevkin:
Im yirtzeh HaShem.

Matthew Miller:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
That’s an exciting project. Let me ask you in terms of submissions, everybody… I know so many people, maybe I get these questions more than others, who they want to write a book. They want to be published. Seems like there must have been a point on some long flight to Germany where, in the back of your head, it says, “I should probably write my own book.” Never. But people do-

Matthew Miller:
I wouldn’t wish that on my friends.

David Bashevkin:
But people have the itch. It’s a dangerous itch. Here’s my question. What is a book, topic, subject, or title that you wish you got less submissions for? And what is a book, topic, or title that you wish you got more submissions about?

Matthew Miller:
I will quote my wife first. “Everybody’s got at least one book in them and that’s probably where you’d stay.” So let me move on from there. Let me think. I’m trying to figure out if I can say this without giving offense. There is a lot of… Look, every rabbi has to do parshat shavua. So they all have these collections of parshat shavua.

David Bashevkin:
Sure. They’re sermons. Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
I got to tell you, it’s rare to find ones that still resonate. It’s very, very rare, and dare I say, most of them are not of popular interest.

David Bashevkin:
That was very politically correct of you to say. Very gentle.

Matthew Miller:
20 years in England, I’m toilet trained.

David Bashevkin:
I see. Yeah. I see you holding back. But I think between your pauses, I hear what you are saying. Yes.

Matthew Miller:
I will tell you, what I… Actually, you were involved in this. I remember we were coming back from Pesach. We were driving home from the north motzei chag and we turned on your program and you were interviewing that rabbi from Rexdor? Rexworth? The chap with the…

David Bashevkin:
Rothwachs.

Matthew Miller:
… with the anorexia discussion.

David Bashevkin:
Yes. Sure.

Matthew Miller:
I tell you, my wife and I, we were floored of that. We were just overwhelmed at that on many levels, the actual problem, the way he and his daughter presented it, the whole thing. I mean, it’s hard to drive when you’re crying.
David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
So I actually spoke to him the week later, and I begged him to publish a book on it.

David Bashevkin:
Wow.

Matthew Miller:
You may want to cut this out your podcast because he hasn’t come back to me. But I mean, a book like that? Because in the Orthodox world, oh, okay, for example, kind of not the same genre. This is not, I’m not comparing, we did a book by Oriya Mevorach in Israel, which is now coming out in English. Well, it’s in translation now, and it’s dealing with the issues of tzniut for women. It’s not a book that the usual sort of you have to be tzniut. It’s not like that. It’s a positive issue.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
So, I mean, if you say the Orthodox world is kind of like the wizarding world and there’s the Muggles out there, but with today’s world.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah.

Matthew Miller:
There’s a way of speaking within the Orthodox world, not down at people, but with people. So whether it’s the rabbi with the daughter with this particular eating disorder, or whether it’s Oriya Mevorach’s book on tzniut. Or whether it’s books that address issues that we’re wrestling with, not halachic issues, do we really want another book on the halacha of the bishul Shabbat? I mean, haven’t we pretty much covered it over the last 2000 years?

David Bashevkin:
You want books that are talking with you. I like that a lot.

Matthew Miller:
Yeah, and I feel like both of these particular authors, or well, I don’t know if he’s going to be an author, I hope he is. They’re dealing with problems that our community is having and you can’t deal with it in a chiloni way because the concept of tzniut in today’s chiloni society, dis meshuge there’s nothing there, it doesn’t exist. So how do you talk to our children and ourselves about issues of moral value? Because on the one hand, you’re not going to get it from the chiloni world. They don’t take that seriously. On other hand, from the chareidi world, I feel like there’s a bit of talking down to you. That’s not what is good. You need to talk with. I hope I’m getting-

David Bashevkin:
No, I understand what you’re saying. There’s certainly, in the writing styles of different publishers-

Matthew Miller:
There’s also the tachlis and the material.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah. I think there are different ways in which people kind of present these. I think some other writers, speakers, personalities, I don’t know if it goes on sharp hashkafic lines, but I do see a difference and I think there’s something markedly different about the way Koren authors kind of walk with their audience that I find very moving. I think a good example of this though, it’s extremely high level and very sophisticated, is the Jewish Thought series from my friend Netanel Wiederblank. I mean, it’s a tour de force. You’ve already published two out of three volumes.

I’m so fascinated by Koren. I want to hear, just kind of to wrap up, because I’m trying to do these profiles of all the major Jewish publishers. And I’m curious for two questions to wrap up, before I do my usual rapid fire questions. Of all of the Koren books, all of the Jewish Koren books that, not your bread and butter, Rabbi Sacks, Rabbi Steinsaltz. What is the book that you are the most proud of and personally enjoy reading the most?

Matthew Miller:
I love all my children.

David Bashevkin:
Of course. Of course, you do.

Matthew Miller:
But okay. Number one, you say not bread and butter.

David Bashevkin:
I’m basically saying you can’t choose a Rabbi Sacks book or a Rabbi Steinsaltz. A book-

Matthew Miller:
Listen. Sorry. I was at Hebrew University two days ago. They gave him a post-mortem honorary degree.

David Bashevkin:
Oh wow. Mazel tov.

Matthew Miller:
I was crying. I really miss him. I miss him. I don’t think we were friends. We were very professional together. But I miss him and I miss his voice. So no, I’m not going to take your restriction. I think if you’d read his books, like Ethics in the Parsha, Leadership in the Parsha, Life Changing Events in the Parsha, it brings the parsha… It brings it so immediate, it brings it to such immediacy that he is a moral voice that is now gone.

I think if there is a weakness in the Jewish Orthodox community, it’s not dealing with those kinds of issues as he did. Number two, we just published a book by Rabbi Sharon Shalom. He’s an Ethiopian rabbi of an Ashkenazi minyan, of an Ashkenazi beit knesset. It’s a conversation of he with his wife, who is a granddaughter of a Polish… of a Holocaust survivor. It’s literally called a Dialogues of Love, and it’s a wonderful book.

David Bashevkin:
A non-Koren Jewish book that you love. An English book, non-Koren English Jewish book that you love. So you can’t say, “Oh, I love the Rashba on Yevamos or Rabbeinu Dovid on Pesachim.”

Matthew Miller:
No fear.

David Bashevkin:
What is a non-Koren English book that’s Jewish, that you love?

Matthew Miller:
Aryeh Kaplan.

David Bashevkin:
He’s the one that got away. Okay. And Artscroll puts it out. We partner. That’s an old… But yeah, but you do love and you know what? I appreciate your love for Aryeh Kaplan. It means so much to me because of my involvement in that book, and I’m so excited to be working with you on the Hebrew ones, and the respect and esteem that you give to his written legacy is not lost on me. It’s really, really moving.

Matthew Miller:
He was another tragic loss to the Jewish people. He died so young. And I will say Rabbi Steinsaltz’s Biblical Portraits.

David Bashevkin:
That’s a beautiful book.

Matthew Miller:
He got in trouble over that.

David Bashevkin:
Rabbi Steinsaltz got in trouble constantly.

Matthew Miller:
He loved getting in trouble.

David Bashevkin:
Did he like it?

Matthew Miller:
Well, there’s a story, goes, he was invited to speak at the House of Lords in London. He goes to London. And you’ve met Rabbi Steinsaltz?

David Bashevkin:
I’ve never met him personally.

Matthew Miller:
Okay. Always wear a blue shirt. The Borsalino-

David Bashevkin:
Suspenders. Okay. Suspenders?

Matthew Miller:
Never wore a tie.

David Bashevkin:
Okay. Like a true-

Matthew Miller:
This is the House of Lords. The House of Lords is all House of Lords, British life. And hey say, “Oh, excuse me, sir. You must wear a tie.” He goes, “Oh, I don’t wear ties.” Say, “Well, you can’t go in unless you wear a tie.” So he said okay. Turned around and left.

David Bashevkin:
For real?

Matthew Miller:
And he never spoke there.

David Bashevkin:
He just walked away?

Matthew Miller:
Yeah.

David Bashevkin:
One of a kind. What a legend.

Matthew Miller:
You got to be a real… I mean, that’s cool.

David Bashevkin:
Yeah. That is very, very cool. I always ask my interviews, I always wrap up with a little bit more rapid fire questions. I feel like we covered the first of those three questions, which are some book recommendations, the ones that you love, both inside and outside the Koren library.

My next question might hit close to home in your own personal narrative. And that is, if somebody gave you a great deal of money and allowed you to take a sabbatical for an entire year, or long as it took to go back to school and get a PhD, what do you think the subject and title of that PhD would be?

Matthew Miller:
I don’t have… Like I said, I did my graduate work at Oxford and I realized after a year, I mean, I got my degree. And I realized I don’t have the sitzfleisch to get that academic degree. So I took my degree, took my Master’s and I came home. So to answer your question, I wouldn’t do a PhD. I would sit and keep doing what I’m doing. It’d be nice to have the money in the bank.

David Bashevkin:
I don’t totally believe you, that you are… You have the aspirations. You’re surrounded by academics and somewhere deep, deep down in your unconscious, you don’t have a little itch? Not enough to actually leave your work, but a little itch to have some subject that you wish you could totally immerse yourself in.

Matthew Miller:
If you know you don’t have the talent to excel, I’m not going to do it. I think I can excel as a publisher. I think we’ve done a very good job. I’ve got a fabulous team by world-class standards, not just Jewish book publishing standards.

David Bashevkin:
No, world-class.

Matthew Miller:
I was able to achieve that. I’m very proud of that, but if I were an author, I would be mediocre.

David Bashevkin:
But you’d have beautiful fonts, no matter what.

Matthew Miller:
They’d be gorgeous.

David Bashevkin:
Wouldn’t those be good?

Matthew Miller:
Gorgeous mediocrity.

David Bashevkin:
Those are good looking fonts. My final question, I always ask my guests. What time do you go to sleep at night? And what time do you wake up in the morning?

Matthew Miller:
I try to go to bed by 11:00, try to wake up at 6:30. And if I get four or five hours sleep, that’s it.

David Bashevkin:
Got you.

Matthew Miller:
Welcome to the middle ages.

David Bashevkin:
Matthew Miller, it is such a pleasure. Not only speaking with you, but our professional relationship, our partnerships is something that I treasure. I’m excited to do more. One day, I’m sure, either 18Forty or David Bashevkin or both are going to come knocking on your doors. There’s certainly more room for partnership in the future. And I cannot thank you enough for your time today.

Matthew Miller:
In the words of Rabbi Eastwood, make my day.

David Bashevkin:
Matthew does not mince words. He really says it like it is. He’s absolutely wonderful, kind of like unvarnished behind… he’s always behind the curtain. He’s never pulling punches, which is what makes him so charming and so amazing and such a really incredible person to work with. And of course, shout-out to Koren fonts. If it were up to me, we would have an episode just about fonts. Those who have ever worked with me in an educational setting, talking about source sheets, know that I can wax poetic about my favorite and least favorite fonts. A huge fan of Cambria, huge fan of Palatino Linotype. That’s what I use when whenever I draft books. Obviously, I am a serif font man. I love the classiness of a serif font, I don’t have time for the informality of a sans serif font. But before I get myself into trouble and lose more listeners by going on for another 40 minutes in what should be a ten second introduction to our final guest, I really got to stop talking about fonts.

I really want to introduce our final guest, who is a return guest, a repeat guest, someone who we have had on before, during our conversation on censorship. Someone who is not only family to me, but has also been a colleague and partner of sorts. The same way I have partnered with ArtScroll on the Aryeh Kaplan collection, with Koren on the NCSY siddur, I have had the absolute pleasure and privilege of partnering with Altie Karper, the great Altie Karper, on works together. Particularly, believe it, or not on a cookbook. We published together, along with OU Press, the Covenant Cookbook. Covenant Winery, which is an absolutely delicious winery. If you ever have the opportunity to visit San Fran, you definitely need to check them out and you could become a member of Covenant’s delicious wine of the month club. They have all these delicious wines.

I am a huge lover of wines. It’s part of my Shabbos vacation mentality, having great wine at my Shabbostable, but the great Covenant Winery actually did a cookbook in partnership with OU, and I was the editor who was like brokering piece in the Middle East by figuring out how they could make sure all of their recipes were sufficiently halachic. How to make sure that they cohered with Jewish law. You’re going to tell somebody how to make a cholent and how to keep it warm on Shabbos, you have to make sure that you stay in line. I had the unenviable task of making sure and brokering the deal that all of the recipes and the instructions and the process between OU Kosher and the publisher’s side, I was the go between. I’m no expert in Jewish law, but I do know how to be a go-between and try to make sure that nobody comes to blows with one another, which thank God, we avoided.

In fact, when we finished, my dear friends at Covenant Winery were kind of to send me a bottle of their signature red wine, which really made my day. I’m happy to edit more of their books, but it was through this process that I actually work with Altie on bringing this to press. She was really, really incredible. And Altie is really the head, the person behind Schocken Books and Altie is really a powerhouse like no other, when it comes to publishing. And Schocken, believe it or not, which is why I’m really concluding these interviews with Altie, because Schocken really the grandfather of Jewish publishing.

It’s really an incredible historical story. And the life of Salman Schocken, of which Schocken Books is named after, is really a major chapter in Jewish history itself. There is a reason why the great Gershom Scholem, the great scholar of Jewish mysticism or Franz Kafka, really some great towering figures in Jewish literature, in Jewish scholarship have all published with Schocken Books, not to mention of course, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, of which Altie spoke so eloquently about. And Altie does not like being on podcasts. This was a favor to me, and one that I do not take for granted, but I could not talk about Jewish books without reaching out to my dearest friend. And really it’s more than that, it’s family with Altie and you can of course check out our original conversation that we had in our series on censorship, where she tells the unbelievable story of the publication she had of the book, One People, Two Worlds. But for right now, we are talking about the history of Schocken Books, what it represents, it is really a force in the world of Jewish publishing. And that is why I am so excited to introduce our conversation with Altie Karper. I really, really appreciate this, I know it’s not always your favorite thing, but hopefully we’ll just-

Altie Karper:
It’s actually my least favorite thing.

David Bashevkin:
It’s your least favorite thing. So we’re going to hopefully spend your time on your least favorite thing talking about your most favorite thing, and that is Schocken Books. A lot of people are familiar with Jewish publishing, they probably know a lot of Schocken Books, but they probably know very little about what exactly the story behind Schocken Books is. People know Feldheim and ArtScroll, they don’t always know the history and it has one of the richest Jewish histories. And you currently run Schocken Books, so I’m wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what exactly is Schocken Books about?

Altie Karper:
Well, Schocken Books was started in Germany in 1931 by a man named Salman, Salman Schocken. He was a merchant, he was an owner of a chain of department stores. This is sort of a side conversation, but the idea of department store, the concept of a department store, was actually invented by Jews in Germany at the end of the 19th century, in the beginning of the 20th century. Prior to that, there were shops that sold men’s clothing, there were shops that sold women’s clothing, there were shops that sold housewares. And this cohort of German Jews had the idea to put this all together into one department store and Salman Schocken was one of those people. And they very intelligently kind of carved up the German empire, so that they wouldn’t be in competition with one another. So Salman Schocken’s territory was in Prussia, it was in southeast Germany, he had 17 department stores, and he became incredibly successful at this.

But he was also a self-taught Jewish intellectual. He did not grow up with much of a Jewish consciousness. His family were secularized Jews. He read Martin Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim as a young man and that changed his life. He realized that there was this enormously rich Jewish cultural heritage of which he was completely ignorant. And he started reading up on Jewish history and culture going all the way back to the Bible, and medieval works, philosophical works of the Renaissance. He became incredibly well-educated, and he decided that this was something that the very assimilated Jews of Germany needed to know too- that there was this incredibly rich cultural heritage of which most of them were ignorant. So he started out by being a patron to Jewish authors, Gershom Scholem was one, S.Y Agnon was another, two famous ones, and helping them get their books published. And then at one point he decided that he was going to be a publisher of these books himself.

And this was in 1931, with the rise of Nazism, Jews all throughout Germany were being persecuted, and they were not exactly sure what they were being persecuted about, because they had no consciousness of what being Jewish was. So he started Schocken Books in 1931, and then with the rise of Nazi Germany, and the Nuremburg Laws, it just became increasingly difficult for Jewish publishers to function. He also somewhere along the way, became a Zionist and developed a very strong political Zionist consciousness and became active in the world’s Zionist movement. In 1935, he left Germany, and left Schocken Books in the hands of his lieutenants there.

And he first went to Switzerland, and then made aliyah to Palestine and started a branch of Schocken Books in Tel Aviv. In 1938, Schocken Books in Germany was closed by the Nazis after Kristallnacht. And in the early 1940s, Salman Schocken, very active at that point with the board of directors of what was becoming the Hebrew University came to America on a fundraising tour, he was very successful. But he also fell in love with America, and just fell in love with the intellectual energy and the spirit of the American Jews whom he met there, some of whom were German refugees from Europe, as was he, and some were just American intellectuals, American business people. And he felt that what he was doing, what he had done in Germany, he was going to start now doing in America. And then founded Schocken Books in America in 1945.

By that point in time, his family was in Palestine. He brought his son, Theodore, over to America to help him with the business. And that was the beginning of Schocken Books in 1945. The first books that he published were translations of the books that he had published so successfully in Europe, Martin Buber and Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem among them. And then eventually bringing Kafka to this country, which had already The Trial and Castle been published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf in the 1930s. But sometime in the 1940s, Schocken brought all of the Kafka works under the Schocken umbrella, so there’s that.

David Bashevkin:
He was the first to publish Kafka in English.

Altie Karper:
Yeah- the first published Kafka in English was a UK publisher, I think it was Collins, but I’m not… I would have to look that up. But Kafka’s first English language publication was in England, first American publication of Kafka’s book.

David Bashevkin:
Gotcha.

Altie Karper:
The Trail and the Castle was by Alfred A. Knopf in the 1930s.

David Bashevkin:
Wow. So I’m just so curious, because the life and the legacy of Salman Schocken is so fascinating. His relationships, particularly with Gershom Scholem if I recall correctly, they had a little bit of a falling out at some point, he wasn’t so pleased that Scholem didn’t publish the Shabbtai Tzvi book with Schocken after supporting him in his earlier works in trends of Jewish mysticism. But, is there a place where somebody could read a biography just of Salman Schocken?

Altie Karper:
Yes, there actually is. It’s called The Patron, A Life of Salman Schocken, and it’s by Anthony David. It’s not a thousand percent correct, but it gives a very interesting biographical portrait of Schocken. There are now works in German that are being published by him, they keep sending them to me- which I’m very flattered, but I can’t read them. A recent one was a Salman Schocken, Topographien eines Lebens, by Stefanie Mahrer; M-A-H-R-E-R. So whoever reads German, this is supposed to be quite extraordinary. It’s by a publisher called Neofelis which I’ve never heard of, but I’m told it’s a fascinating book. There was also published a couple of years ago the result of a scholarly commemoration of Salman Schocken. This happened in Kemnitz, in Germany, I was a participant. There were 20-some odd scholarly papers delivered about various aspects of the life of Salman Schocken.

I gave one of the papers, I gave the papers about Schocken in New York. But there were scholars who gave papers about Schocken books in Germany, about Salman Schocken the Department Store Magnate, Salman Schocken the Bibliofile, he had a world famous library, which is now in Israel. Salman Schocken the Philosopher. That’s an extraordinary book as well. It was published in Germany, the papers were published in the languages in which they were delivered. But I don’t have the exact title of that, I can find it. I was at the conference and those papers were absolutely fascinating. They provided simultaneous translation of the papers that were given in German. And it was thoroughly fascinating…

It was actually held in one of Salman Schocken’s department stores. As I said, he had one time in Germany, had 17 department stores. Of cause they were all closed down by the Nazis when the war started, and they met various fates. Some of them like the one I believe in Dresden, was just bombed out of existence by the allies during the war. And then there were others that were turned into factories when the Soviet Union occupied East Germany. So they took those department stores and turned them into warehouses, or storage or whatever. And then there were some that just lay fallow. And with the unification of Germany, what the German government is doing now, is rehabilitating as many of those department stores as they can find. So, the convention that I attended was held in one of these rehabilitated department stores in Kemnitz, that is now an archeological museum, it’s the Schocken Museum of Architecture. And it was just quite an extraordinary, it was the dedication of the museum, the refurbishment of the building it was quite extraordinary experience. And sponsored by the German government. So that was really cool.

David Bashevkin:
Wow. Wow. So I’m curious… I always ask you, who is Schocken now- and you always say, it’s me. I am Schocken right now. You kind of run the show I know you don’t appreciate these superlatives… was there a specific perspective of Judaism that Schocken was designed to highlight? Meaning, he published his books on Kafka, which is not maybe overtly Jewish- but has definitely been embraced in Kafka’s own Judaism, and particularly his books from Gershom Scholem bringing Kabbalistic mysticism to an English speaking audience, was absolutely fascinating. Was there a specific emphasis or almost like a type of Judaism that he was trying to highlight?

Altie Karper:
He was a Judaic polymath. He was interested in anything and everything having to do with the Jewish experience. He published books by Heine. He published books about Palestine in the 1930s. There was not one area of the Jewish experience that he was not interested in. He published Sholem Aleichem, Inside Kasrilevke. He was interested in every aspect of the Jewish experience, fiction, non-fiction, artwork, his mandate was anything that taught people about the extraordinary vitality and value of the Jewish cultural experience, and to extent the Jewish religious experience, in all of its many aspects.

David Bashevkin:
I’m curious, what makes you unique, as opposed to a lot of other Jewish publishers particularly in the United States is that you have a long history, comparative to the other Jewish publishers. And I’m curious, if aside from being a book publisher are you also kind of like a museum curator? Is there any of that history that still lives on in your office, in your files? Do you have access to correspondence or, ideas in the original pen of Gershom Scholem, or Salman Schocken, or some of the authors, Kafka? I mean, these were titans of Jewish literature, or literature, I don’t want the listeners to come out and yell at me how to classify Kafka the Jewish literature, or just literature. But certainly, he was corresponding and had relationships with the estates, and the individuals, these real titans. Does any of this still live on physically in your office, in your life?

Altie Karper:
Yeah. I have one very cool box of all this stuff, and there’s some fellow who’s doing a PhD thesis actually on Schocken, and he came here once to do a deep dive in my files. And a lot of it is in German. So I don’t understand what it says, but he was just sitting there convulsing over all the stuff that he was reading. And he’s coming back, actually on Tuesday. I think he came here, like, about a year or two ago and then COVID stopped him. So he’s coming back. I have a last just one box of these really cool, and they’re mostly interoffice. There are some, there are some correspondence in there, interoffice memos about the functioning of Schocken, from about 1945 to 1950, when there was a slackening off. A lot of the Schocken files are in the Schocken Library in Jerusalem.

I don’t know, what happenstance what fortunate happenstance, led me to inherit this amazing box of correspondence, but I do have it. And then there’s some really cool Kafka stuff, manuscripts, with what looks to be Max Brod’s handwritten emendations. And I actually have a Kafka scholar who, Ross Benjamin, who was just about to publish a new installation of the diaries based on the German critical edition. And once he’s done with that that’s in another box he’s going to go through that box and look through all of that stuff, and see what that all is. But I’m 99% sure that these are manuscripts. I mean, all this was done after, of course, after Kafka died. But there’s a type-written manuscript, and it’s got these little emendations in pencil, and it’s got to be Max Brod’s, I don’t know who else it could be. So that’s something that Ross Benjamin is going to take a look at and figure out. So yeah, I have those I have a lot of cool stuff here in the office.

David Bashevkin:
Okay. So you’re a publisher slash amateur museum archivist. So fast forwarding to the historical Salman Schocken, to the Schocken that is alive and well today, many of our listeners are probably most familiar with Schocken through the amazing books that you published with Rabbi Sacks, I believe, To Heal a Fractured World, Not in God’s Name, Of Science and Torah, The Great Partnership, you did some amazing books with that. Why did Rabbi Sacks choose, do you have any idea why he chose Schocken specifically, to publish his works? Some of his other works went with more specifically Jewish or Orthodox publishers. Do you have any idea why specifically Schocken was chosen?

Altie Karper:
So, well, he started out publishing his work in the UK with Hodder & Stoughton, with their religion imprint. They have an imprint that publishes religious books of all religions. Um, actually, I guess before that he was publishing with an even smaller publisher, called Continuum. And they distributed his books in the United States, and that included A Letter in the Scroll. And then as he became more of a public figure, first in the UK, and then throughout the world, he was someone who would have traction for American readers. So his agent had approached me, I think about another author. And I don’t know whether she mentioned that she also represented Rabbi Sacks, or I knew that she did. And I said, well, if Rabbi Sacks is interested in having a larger footprint here in the United States for his non-sefarim. I think I can use that word, and your listeners would understand what I mean by sefarim for his non-sefarim work.

I would be very interested in publishing them at Schocken. And he had been published, as I said, I think by Continuum. And she arranged for me to meet with Rabbi Sacks when he came here on one of his lecture tours. And I was just in such awe of him. I don’t exactly remember what I said, but it was just kind of like some stammering, stumbling about how I would be honored to be his publisher. And it worked out. So that’s how I got to be his publisher. Because I realized that there was an audience for his books here in the United States, that a publisher like Schocken, which is a division of Penguin Random House, would be able to reach more effectively than a smaller publisher based in the UK, who basically, just distributes his books in the United States.

David Bashevkin:
I’m always fascinated by your work. And I promised that I wasn’t going to ask you 1,001 questions, because you are busier than almost anybody I know. My final question that I wanted to ask you is, no one likes to talk about their favorites or picking their favorites. Is there a book that you were involved in publishing, that you wish, or is like a personal favorite that you wish got more attention? That you wish the public took a stronger look at? You know, Rabbi Sacks, thank God, really is quite prolific, and was beloved and embraced the community. Do you feel like there are any books that slid under the radar that you want to promote, that you’re especially, either proud of your own work on it, or you feel deserve a second look from an audience?

Altie Karper:
Well, I guess what I can say is, I published Aharon Appelfeld. And I think that his books are extraordinary. And I wish that they had a larger readership, and we scratch our heads here with Penguin Random House to try to figure out how to make that happen. But I’ve published now, I think about, five or six, or seven books of Aharon Appelfeld. And they sell and get great reviews, and they sell sort of, kind of, respectfully, but not as much as I’d like. And, I just think he’s such a marvelous writer and he has such wonderful things to say, and I wish my Aharon Appelfeld books sold better.

David Bashevkin:
That is absolutely fair. Could you just give us maybe one of the titles and just a word about, what does he write about, generally?

Altie Karper:
He writes mostly about the Jewish experience during the war, World War II, before, during and after. And I’ll just read you a list of the works that I’ve published of Aharon’s, since we began publishing him at Schocken. He’s been with several publishers, and for his last, as I say, last few books, he’s been with Schocken. So we have published, To The Edge Of Sorrow, The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping, Suddenly Love, Until The Dawn’s Light, Blooms Of Darkness, Laish, All Whom I Have Loved, The Story Of A Life, The Conversion, and The Iron Tracks. And they’re all just magnificent books. And I encourage your readers to discover them.

David Bashevkin:
Altie, I cannot thank you enough. I’m always fascinated by the incredible, there’s a certain dignity and majesty to everything that comes out from the Schocken Library. It’s like an instant classic. Is there a time for our listeners, our listeners always love, like anyone loves, a good book sale. Is there a time when Schocken books have like a big time like, now’s the time you want to go on there, and we would send it, the answer could be no, but a lot of university presses do this sometimes. Is there a good time or, just. It’s always a good time to buy a book?

Altie Karper:
Yeah, yeah. We don’t really function the way that university presses with like, an annual sale, where we cut all the prices. All of our books are for sale at Amazon, and they do really significant discounts of books on Amazon. So, we just encourage our readers to find them on Amazon. Yeshiva University book sale always takes a nice chunk of our back list and does nice discounting. So, people who are within the area that they can attend theYeshiva University annual book sale, you’ll find a nice chunk of our books there at discount. So that’s an option for your readers.

David Bashevkin:
So, yeah, there are just absolute classics, that when you see them in the Schocken Library, like, wow. These are real classics that stand the test of time. My shelf is filled with Schocken classics. I sometimes even forget what’s coming in the library, to browse through your library, is really something amazing. So Altie, thank you so, so much for sharing with us a little bit of the history, the legacy of Schocken books.

Altie Karper:
Thank you. And thank you to the readers who read them and who will continue to discover them.

David Bashevkin:
I’m not sure what the personality of our listeners are, whether most of our listeners are kind of more ArtScroll personalities, Schocken personalities, Koren personalities. I could distinctly see them as different types of people. And I hope in some ways that we are a blend of all three of these publishers and the incredible work each in their own way, that they contribute to Jewish scholarship, Jewish ideas, and really cultivating ourselves as people. Which is why it’s really been such a pleasure, and something that I think is unique to the 18Forty experience that we have these relationships. We’re not just a one track, only, it’s got to be Koren, it’s got to be ArtScroll, it’s got to be Schocken. I think what makes this community so beautiful is that we’re bringing together all three of these publishers, and really recognizing their incredible contribution to Jewish scholarship. But I think inside of each of us, dwells a little bit of ArtScroll, a little bit of Koren, and a little bit of Schocken.

So thank you so much for listening. This episode, unlike most of our episodes, Denah Emerson, our friend, Denah Emerson, is on a break. So these episodes are being edited by also our dearest friend, Rob. It wouldn’t be a Jewish podcast without a little bit of Jewish guilt. So if you enjoyed this episode, or any episode, please subscribe, rate, review. Tell your friends about it. You could also donate at 18Forty.org/donate. It really helps us reach new listeners, and continue putting out great content.

You could also leave us a voicemail with feedback questions. Let us know if you’re okay with it being played, or better yet, let us know if you don’t want it played on the air. I’m going to assume if you leave us a voice note, you are okay with this being on the air. We’ve made this mistake once before, but please just let us know, if you don’t want it played. If you’re leaving the voice note, I’m assuming you are okay with it being played, unless you leave other instructions. And that voicemail number is 9-1-7-7-2-0-5-6-2-9. Once again, that’s 9-1-7-7-2-0-5-6-2-9.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, or some of the other great ones we’ve covered in the past, be sure to check out 18Forty.org. That’s the number one eight, followed by the word 40, F-O-R-T-Y.org, where you can also find videos, articles, and recommended readings. Thank you so much for listening and stay curious, my friends.