Bracha Peli

Bracha Peli (Hebrew: ברכה פלאי) (1892–1986) was the founder and owner of the Israeli publishing house, Massada. She was the driving force behind the publication of Encyclopaedia Hebraica,[1] and is credited with starting Israel's annual Hebrew Book Week.[2]

Bracha Peli
Bracha Peli, 1940s
Bronya Kutzenok

Nationality Israel
Known forHebrew Book Week
Home townTel Aviv
Spouse(s)Meir Pilipovetsky (Peli)
ChildrenAlexander Peli and daughter


Bronya Kutzenok (later Bracha Peli) was born in Starovitzky, a small village in Russia, now Ukraine[3] to a family of Hasidic Jews. She was the eldest of seven children. Her father, Shmuel Kutzenok, was a wealthy lumber merchant who supplied timber for artillery wagons to the Russian army. Her mother, Sarah, ran the village general store. She acquired an education by overhearing her brothers' lessons.[3] Early on, she became proficient in Yiddish, Russian and Hebrew. In 1905, when she was about to study at a Gymnasium in Kiev, pogroms against the Jews erupted, disrupting her plans. She waited two years to complete her secondary education and study economics.[3]

In 1914, after her mother died of tuberculosis, Peli met a young Zionist teacher, Meir Pilipovetsky, whom she married against her family's wishes. After her son, Alexander, was born she opened a Jewish secondary school that attracted 400 students in its first year.[3]

In July 1921, Peli and her husband left Russia for Palestine, settling in Tel Aviv.[3] In 1926, Peli opened a stall in Tel Aviv to sell books cheaply, which led to the inauguration of an annual event.[2] Today Hebrew Book Week is a national 10-day event.[4] The Encyclopaedia Hebraica project began using Bracha Peli's publishing house in 1946 with her son, Alexander, supervising. The last volume was published in 1996.[3]

Bracha Peli died in 1986.

See also


  1. Founder of the Hebrew Enterprise, Uri Dromi, accessed October 2009
  2. Hebrew Book Week :from an open, urban fair into an entertainment festival Archived October 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Shiri Lev-Ari, Jewish Theatre, accessed October 2009
  3. Bracha Peli, Asher Weill, Jewish Women's Archive. accessed October 2009
  4. Israel - Book Production Data Economic situation, Frankfurt Book Fair, accessed October 2009
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