It is not surprising that publishers of Jewish content books are
based in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the spiritual center
of the Jewish nation - "the people of the book". Although
based in Jerusalem, these publishers have their fingers on the
pulse of the market of Jewish content books in North America where
the majority of their publications are sold. Some of these publishers
exhibited at the Jerusalem International Book Fair held in June.
Established in 1981, Gefen Publishing House is an English-language
publisher with offices and distribution warehouses in NY and Jerusalem.
Gefen publishes approximately 30 titles per year on a variety
of Israeli and Jewish subjects including history, Holocaust, biographies,
psychology, poetry, nature and art. Publisher Ilan Greenfield
says that Gefen books can be read by any denomination.
Gefen books can sell anywhere from hundreds of copies to tens
of thousands of copies. depending on the quality of the manuscript
and its ability to sell, Gefen offers a range of ways towards
assisting the author to finance the publication of the book.
Gefen Kidz for children's books is interested in topics about
the holidays, the Holocaust and everyday life. According to Greenfield,
Gefen is focusing more on children's books in the next three years.
Simcha Publishing Company was established in 1993 by Yaacov Peterseil
of Jerusalem to fill a gap in the Jewish market in the United
States. Simcha works with Pitspopany Press, a N.Y. company specializing
in children's books on Jewish themes. Simcha's English-language
books can be read by children from every spectrum of Judaism,
according to Peterseil. Pitspopany publishes 10-15 titles a year.
Currently, Simcha is not looking for children's manuscripts.
For books for adults, preferably non-fiction, Simcha publishes
through Devora Publishing Company. Simcha co-publishes with the
author titles that they feel can sell at least between 2,000-5,000
copies in the mainstream Jewish market.
Simcha's sales force of 30 people in the United States sell to
general book chains, wholesalers, retailers and book fair companies.
Distributors cover other places as well. Simcha provides all pre-press
and printing services.
Urim Publications, now completing its fifth year, publishes Jewish
classical and contemporary works, putting special interest in spiritual
works, women and Judaism, Zionism, commentaries on the Bible, law
and ethics. According to publisher Tzvi Mauer, its books often focus
on interesting, thought-provoking issues presented in an accessible
The children's division of Urim produces books with Jewish themes
depicting everyday people, not necessarily Jewish. Its children's
books are very Jewish, but not ritualistic. The children's books
reflect values such as family, tzedaka and chessed. The editor
for the children's books is Shari Greenspan. The books are accompanied
by quality illustrations. Urim publishes books also in Hebrew.
Mazo Publishers is a new publisher that produces some of its titles
on CDs complete with graphics. According to publisher Chaim Mazo
this is suited for manuscripts with a small market. Various options
exist for books on CDs that cannot be done with printed books.
Mazo also publishes books in large lettered 18-point print as
well as other books on Jewish themes, Israel and the Holocaust.
Gefen Publishing House:
US: Tel: 516-295-2805
US Fax: 516-295-2739
Simcha Publishing Company
US: Tel: 1-800-232-2931
US Fax: 212-472-6253
US: Tel: 718-972-5449
US Fax: 718-972-6307
Batsheva Pomerantz of Jerusalem
is a feature writer whose articles have been published in Horizons,
Emunah Magazine, Stepping Stones, the Jerusalem Post and other
publications. She is editor of the newsletter "Chosen People
to the Chosen Land" on Aliya. It appears on www.ou.org/torah/tt
© 2009 by Jewish Writing Institute. All rights reserved.
Copyright to individual articles held by authors.