Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

The Jew­ish Book Coun­cil team has had an amaz­ing first two days at Jerusalem Inter­na­tion­al Book Fair. We’ve spent time meet­ing authors, review­ers, and our pub­lish­ing peers from all over the world and will be shar­ing some of the inter­est­ing bites from our trip through­out the week.

Today, we spent a lit­tle time with Mar­cel Mar­cus, the cur­rent own­er of Lud­wig May­er Books, the old­est book­shop in Jerusalem. Lud­wig May­er Books was found­ed out­side Jaf­fa Gate in 1908 by Lud­wig May­er, who moved to Jerusalem from Pren­zlau (north of Berlin). With the out­break of World War I, Lud­wig was called back to Ger­many in 1914 for army ser­vice and his books remained in stor­age until he returned in 1933, weeks after the Jew­ish boy­cott in Ger­many. In 1935, he reopened the book­store on Shlomzion Hamal­ka Street, right behind the Main Post Office, a posi­tion which would even­tu­al­ly be strate­gi­cal­ly con­ve­nient for the May­ers to serve the state of Israel. The Main Post Office served as the British army’s HQ in the 40’s, plac­ing the May­ers with­in lis­ten­ing dis­tance of the sol­diers’ radio com­mu­ni­ca­tion – infor­ma­tion that would prove use­ful for the Haganah.

Fol­low­ing the cre­ation of the State of Israel, Lud­wig May­er Books became a strong inter­na­tion­al book­shop that export­ed and import­ed books from through­out the world, secur­ing its place as a land­mark of Zion­ist history.”

In 1994, Mar­cel Mar­cus, a rab­bi in Switzer­land, read about the sale of Lud­wig May­er Books. Only a few days lat­er, he was con­nect­ed to Lud­wig Mayer’s sons, mak­ing the pur­chase of the book­store pos­si­ble, and thus began his new life as an Israeli book­shop own­er. In 1996, Mar­cel moved to Israel and offi­cial­ly took the posi­tion he still serves in to this day: pro­vid­ing inter­na­tion­al books and peri­od­i­cals for the peo­ple of Israel and export­ing Israeli pub­li­ca­tions to eager cus­tomers abroad.

Mar­cel is con­fi­dent that even in a dig­i­tal age, Lud­wig May­er Books will have a place and assures me that, as long as a cus­tomer has a bit patience, he will be able to track down any book or peri­od­i­cal nec­es­sary. So, if you find your­self in Jerusalem, track down Lud­wig May­er Books, say hel­lo to Mar­cel, and check out his won­der­ful col­lec­tion. Abroad? Go online and vis­it his web­site www​.mayer​books​.com. He awaits you with open arms and an eager­ness to con­nect books with read­ers across the globe.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.