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Relay Race

Ariella Goldminz

In an old-time Haifa neighborhood, there’s a famous patisserie that has seen better days. Karol Schmidt, who came from Europe, opened it over fifty years ago, and people who appreciate good cake and don’t care about their waistlines have remained loyal to him to this day. Karol, a widower since the death of his unhinged wife, is attracted to his waitress Betty who has also seen better days. But her heart belongs to Yossi, the head baker, who loves her in return. Meanwhile, Ionel, a devoted customer and a good friend of Karol’s, has fallen in love with Deborah, who is taller than him and unattractive to boot, but she’s a pleasant, friendly woman. Karol’s daughter Ossie welcomes the new woman in her father’s life, but his late wife’s ghost is watching and plotting revenge. Ossie, the Haifa City Hall spokeswoman, isn’t happy with her love life either: She has had a long but aimless affair with Omri, an art lecturer at the university who is married with no thought of divorce. And incidentally, Omri’s wife is in love with Dan, the city veterinarian, and the two celebrate their romance at a table laden with pastries at Karol’s bakery.

    All this and more takes place against the backdrop of a city-sponsored family relay race. And in fact, Goldminz’s fine-tuned, humorous book is shaped like a relay race, each character passing the baton of the story to the next person, with dovetailing plotlines. Bitter and sad events wind in and out of the patisserie, but the relay race of life goes on-- happiness takes over from sorrow and sweetness from bitterness. At the end of the race, the desire for life and love is the winner.





In my eyes, Relay Race is one of the best Hebrew books to come out in recent years. It contains a delicate balance between humor and compassion and between mockery and empathy ... In most of the characters, despair is mixed with a little self-love, their absurdity arouses pity, and their ill-fated loves arouse not contempt or disgust but sympathy… The book’s structure and textures are sophisticated and very delicate.

Author Amos Oz

This is one of those texts in which it is clear from the outset that there is a well-formed voice here … Both well-formed and original, the likes of which I have not come across in all the years I have been a teacher … A novel which is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s black humor to it that exists in short supply in Hebrew literature … Ariella is blessed with the ability to weave characters that stay with you.

Author Eshkol Nevo


In Relay Race there’s a touch that is both powerful and gentle, and full of imagination when it comes to both language and human beings…

Author Ronit Matalon

The ostensibly naïve charm enfolds so much wisdom, humanity, warmth of heart, truth, beauty, optimism … The characters continue to live inside us.

Author Judith Rotem


I read your book with great enjoyment, I laughed, I was sad, and I lived with the people of the bakery – the bakers, the customers, and with all the other characters that you have shaped so well. Relay Race is an impressive work, wise, full of humor and compassion.

Author Mira Magen

A sense of heartfelt, easy-going and amused satisfaction accompanies the reader of her first book from beginning to end …  A sweet and delicious novel.


Love is the sweet stuff of life, and these characters know it all too well … We live for love no matter who we are. How old or what we look like. Lovely!

The Jerusalem Post

It’s a pleasure to see that a first book can be so splendid, so full of good things. Ariella Goldmintz has an amazing talent for noticing small details that differentiate people from one another …  Endearing. She has a singular voice, the likes of which I have not encountered in a long time. This is a writer we will hear more about.

Kol Israel 1

The book is written in a meticulous, precise manner, a work of craftsmanship, with subtle humor. Goldmintz observes her characters, but not from above,



A fascinating literary tapestry of rare beauty … A dizzying carousel of happenings, an authentic Israeli world that has never before been written about like this in Hebrew literature.

Olam Ha'Isha

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Goldmintz’s lovely first book, which shows kindness to simple, hard-up folks, most of them not young, who want to gobble down one more helping of love before life gets the better of them. In impressively descriptive language and with fine humor, Goldmintz skillfully concocts a collection of short stories whose plots dovetail with each other. Warmly recommended!  

Tolaat Sfarim, Blogspot


In wonderfully simple and lucid prose, with idioms devoid of frills that reach deep into the soul of the reader, the writer tells ostensibly little stories about people working in a small patisserie in Haifa. However, the fascinating selection of characters and the skillfully interwoven narrative give this tasteful novel an unusual and very refreshing quality. 
The Ministry of Culture Prize Committee



Title Relay Race
Author’s Last Name Goldminz
Author's First Name Ariella
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Zmora-Bitan
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2015
No. Pages 231 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Merotz Shlichim
Representation Represented by ITHL
Congratulations to Barabara Harshav for the 2018 PEN Medal for Translation!
The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
The Ministry of Culture and Sport announced the names of the winners of the Arik Einstein Veterans Artists Prize.
A prize of 50,000 NIS was given to each of the 21 artists who worked and are still working to promote Israeli culture in various fields -Music, dance, theater, plastic arts, cinema and literature. In the literature category the winners were Ronny Someck, Jacob Buchan and Shlomit Cohen-Assif. Also, Anat Masiach is among the recipient of the prize for debut literary works. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Ronit Matalon, the recipient of the 2017 Brenner prize for her book 'And the Bride Closed the Door". And, congratulations to Amir ziv, the recipent of the first ever Brenner prize for debut novels.
Ronit Matalon's book tells the story of Margie, a young bride, who shuts herself up in her mother's bedroom and declares that she won’t get married. Her family gathers at the locked door, not knowing what to do. Amir Ziv tells a story that begins as an apparently routine correspondence between a prying citizen, secretly in love with his neighbor, and a conscientious municipal clerk, and developes into an uncovering of a great underlying drama.
The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: Sunday, April 29, 2018 until Saturday, May 5, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is one of the 100 notable books of 2017 of the "New York Times".

Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award! The books on the longlist are selected by 400 libraries worldwide. Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.
Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
English edition of Yitzchak Mayer's amazing "Silent Letter" is about to come out with Mosaic Press. Learn more about the author's incredible life story on his brand new website.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!