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Since 1956, Eli Dovek has been making the shidduch (match) between customer and the perfect book or gift, mezuzah, or etrog and lulav set. And no one knows how many tens of thousands of Jewish books he's sent into homes, schools and synagogues.
But when asked his greatest satisfaction, he quick with an answer:
"I've always believed in serving a customer until they're satisfied and pleased because I know that the best customers are those who return again and again because of a positive shopping experience and because they felt that we understood their needs, gave them the information and expertise they were looking for... and that we cared."
Some of Mr. Dovek's favorite types of merchandise that he's sold in the last 60 years range from the high-end: tzedaka (charity) boxes that are replicas of famous synagogues around the world, designer silver kiddush (wine) cups and spice boxes, a silver filigree Chanukah menorah featuring nine lively klezmer musicians and woven tallesim imported from Israel, all the way to the just-for-fun items like Patriots and Red Sox caps - in Hebrew - and a wide assortment of silly "frog" toys to liven up family seders.
"Years ago, people treasured and appreciated the antique and classic designs in Judaica," he reports. "Whereas today many customers are choosing more modern and simple designs. Either way, we have always promoted Israeli products as much as we can as we - and many others - want to support their fellow Jews and feel connected to their homeland."
And, though the founder sees some trends including dropping Hebrew school enrollments, and more people learning online, he also sees day schools growing and an increasing hunger among Jewish adults for conversational and religious Hebrew and Torah learning. "People may be buying fewer books, but there is nothing like coming into a Jewish store to browse, talk to the staff about the newest titles and see all the latest releases and recent products. Our customers still appreciate hearing what's new from our staff who knows the field so well."
Mrs. Dovek, more often known as Edie, has been the First Lady of the shop for 57 years. Beloved for her encyclopedic mind, phenomenal memory, big heart and boundless energy, Edie loves to reminisce and play Jewish geography. Born in Worcester, she grew up in Dorchester and has lived in Brighton for the past half-century. Along with her husband, she is devoted to family, and along with her husband, they bask in the joy of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. In the shop, her most gratifying moments “are when I can help customers satisfy their needs,” she says. “Especially on items that cannot be found anywhere else.”
Chaim, the Doveks’ son, joined the business in 1988 after studying for several years in Eretz Yisroel. Married to Leah Stefansky from Toronto, Chaim is the vice president, general manager and executive administrator. With a specialty in Sefrei Kodesh (holy books) and religious Judaics, Chaim’s knowledge, friendly demeanor and listening ear have endeared him to customers for decades and help create a pleasant atmosphere and positive shopping experience.
A Boston native, Chana has been working at the Israel Book Shop for almost 20 years. Chana has a BA in Art History from Simmons College followed by a year of studies at Midreshet Rachel in Jerusalem. She taught Pre-K and Kindergarten Judaics at Yeshiva Academy in Worcester and is happily married and the proud mother of two boys and two girls. In her spare time, Chana volunteers with the religious Boy Scout Troop 54 and ROFEH International. Favorite book shop moments include the time she talked to Myra Kraft (zl) for an order and two Catholic cardinals came in to buy yarmulke clips.
Before joining the Israel Book Shop in 2009, Judy served as an award-winning elementary school teacher in day schools in Maryland and New Jersey before moving to Boston. After arriving, she served as a kindergarten teacher at Maimonides School. Judy is married to Rabbi Roy Rosenbaum and they are the parents of three adult children and nine grandchildren. Judy resides in Newton and is a member of Beth El there. Judy feels "it's a joy to work in a job that services the Boston Jewish community in so many essential ways." Being a retired teacher she "values the importance of transmitting our mesorah (transmission of Jewish tradition) through books and media" and considers the Israel bookshop her Boston family.
Having grown up in her parents’ shop, Rivky has become a key player on the Israel Book Shop team. She and her husband, Reb Eliezer Fireman, a prominent maggid shiur (teacher) at the Boston Mesivta, are active in the Boston Jewish community.
Miriam has been on the staff of the Book Shop for over 30 years. Born and raised in Kiryat Shmona in the north of Israel, Miriam was a librarian in her hometown prior to coming to the States. Miriam earned a Bachelor's degree from Hebrew College in Boston while teaching in local Hebrew schools. At the book shop, she's been "happy to be able to able to pursue professional interests in bibliophilia, teaching and Jewish community service during my tenure with Mr. Dovek and his staff." And the best part of her job? "Meeting the wonderful people that come into the book shop!"About Israel Book Shop
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