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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

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