01 June, 2009

Hey Toby - we can't read Hebrew. What are those funky signs at the top of your blog?


Oh, funny you should ask!

Last year I was at Shavua HaSefer, Israel's yearly Book Week. During Shavua HaSefer, books are on sale all over the country, and at a few choice locations, entire book fairs featuring Israeli publishers are set up. We of course found ourselves walking around the fair in Jerusalem, going from stand to stand. The names of the publishers were clearly marked on signs above the stands, but come on, who really cares about the publisher? We mostly just kept our eyes on the books on the tables.


After a while, I got to a table at the far end of the fair. After looking at a few books, I realized that at this table, the name of the publisher actually was an interesting point, and so I looked up. "Oh!" I exclaimed after seeing the sign, and I began to explain my intrigue to the woman "manning" the stand.

It's pretty silly, really. The publisher was "Toby Press." I had heard that it existed, but never actually come across their books. I know, what's the big deal for it to be named Toby, but for someone named Toby, just trust me that it's
a big deal. Toby is an awfully uncommon name - I grew up always being the one who couldn't find her name on any of those keychain racks, and rational or not, I get a kick out of seeing evidence that I'm not the only Toby on the planet.

So it was fun to see the books; the woman and I shared a good chuckle, and I didn't buy anything. I slid over to the next stand, looked for a second and a half, and audibly said, "No way!" But yes - I looked up at that sign, and it was true. I had reached the well-known Koren publishing house's stand. "So what?" I hear you cry. Well, the name Curwin didn't work out too well in Hebrew, being as Hebrew doesn't have the letter w. So a couple of weeks after we moved
here, we "Hebraized" our name - we took out the w, and were left with Koren, which is an actual (and lovely) name in Hebrew.

Anyway, get it? The signs, put together, had my full name: Toby Koren! It was so silly, and of course Dave made me take a picture:

It's not a terribly flattering picture, so I've always been hesitant to post it here. But I realized that just the top part (without me) really couldn't be a better header for someone named Toby Koren who blogs about signs... so I put it up. Better late than never!

As a short postscript: check out this post by Maya, the writer of a great blog that I recently found. Really funny stuff, and totally true!


17 comments:

Micha said...

There is a reason why the two are next to each other: They are, just about, the same company.

toby said...

Hi Micha! What they told me at Shavua HaSefer (and what your mother told me) is that Toby Press bought Koren, which is why they're now located in the same building, and why they were next to each other at the fair. I don't think it takes away from the coolness, though. I've offered to be the company mascot.

Micha said...

Cool... :)

Adam E. said...

Spooky!

Joyce B. said...

Wow. I'd be excited, too. BTW, You look good in the picture, Toby Koren!

toby said...

Adam - definitely, that's a good word for it.

Joyce - Everything's relative - I like to think I would look better if photographed today. But generally I like to stay on the other side of the camera :)

ilanadavita said...

Koren has a wonderful new siddur; but you probably know this already.

toby said...

Yes, I got one for myself, and one for my mom. It's such a breath of fresh air!

Nechama said...

Remember the Niki bars? Chocolate + coconut. Actually, you probably don't have to remember them, if they're still on the market.

My friend Mori (who is now an olah) was amused when, years ago, Mori Luggage and Gifts opened up at our local mall.

HolyCityPrayer said...

As I told you in real life (yes, Virginia, there is life out of blogging and commenting), *I* figured this out even without this post.

Now that you mention it, I will have to keep this in mind next time I am with my daughter Moriah just near the Tachana Merkazit in Jerusalem.

-Gidon Ariel
(post solutions here in comments if you can - hope you don't mind, Toby)

toby said...

Hi HCP!

Technically, I posted this before I saw you... :)

Are you referring to the Malon Moriah?

HolyCityPrayer said...

Nope, Toby, should I give you another chance, or just spill the beans?

toby said...

By all means, let us have it!

HolyCityPrayer said...

Romema, the neighborhood behind the tachana merkazit, has streets named for early Hebrew newspapers. HaOr, Torah Mitzion, Hatzvi, Moriah, Ariel...

toby said...

Wow! That *definitely* is cool. And I would not have figured it out :)

HolyCityPrayer said...

Unfortunately, these two streets are just that far away from each other to be perpendicular, thus no toby koren type photo op...

toby said...

Ah, that's a shame. But still cool!