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Largest Jewish publisher gets its own ZIP code

“Our growth in recent years made this move absolutely necessary,” said Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman, director of Kehot.

Annually, Kehot prints more than 150,000 books across some 100 titles, maintaining an active catalog of approximately 2,750 titles. Credit: Chabad.org/News.
Annually, Kehot prints more than 150,000 books across some 100 titles, maintaining an active catalog of approximately 2,750 titles. Credit: Chabad.org/News.

Until now, Kehot Publication Society—the Jewish publishing house with the largest active catalog—has had their warehouses, distribution centers and administrative offices scattered across the tri-state area.

Now, with the recent acquisition of a 100,000-square-foot facility in Scranton, Pa., in collaboration with Vaad Hanochos B’Lahak, the publisher will announce a new era by consolidating their oftentimes logistically challenging operations into one space.

The new facility once housed an online school and came replete with a printing press. The premises, which received and sent out so much mail under its previous tenants, even received its very own ZIP code, which remains to this day.

“Our growth in recent years made this move absolutely necessary,” said Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman, director of Kehot. “We’re not just relocating; we’re setting the stage for the next phase of growth in Jewish publishing.”

In their current 16,000-square-foot warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kehot was limited to what they could keep in stock. They also resorted to using third-party warehouses to store some of their books, with one in New Jersey holding more than 100 pallets of stock. The new space has ample capacity to continue their unprecedented growth.

“We are at capacity,” Rabbi Mendel Laine, director of sales at Kehot, told Chabad.org of the ever-expanding catalog of titles in print at any given moment. “Up until this point, we’ve sometimes had to limit our orders when we go to print based on purely physical constraints.”

Annually, Kehot prints more than 150,000 books across some 100 titles, maintaining an active catalog of approximately 2,750 titles, with more than 600,000 books in stock at any given time. Starting in 2012, Kehot has also made a concerted effort to ensure that the works of all Chabad Rebbes were in print at all times.

In the decade since, they have brought to print the entire catalog of each Rebbe, starting with Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the Chabad movement’s founder, and concluding with the fourth Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, in 2023.

“Once you make these sets available, you have to maintain them,” explained Laine. “When stock runs low, we also do more than just print them over and over again. We make corrections to make the volumes better than before. A lot of these books were originally typeset in the pre-digital age; we have to fix typos by Photoshop.”

‘Bring the wellsprings of Torah to more readers’

In addition to the work they do serving the community with constant reprintings of the works of each of the seven Chabad rebbes, Kehot also works closely with Chabad centers across the world to maintain their libraries of prayer books and Chumashim, as well as provide them with their vast corpus of Jewish literature.

“Each year, the amount of Machzorim we print and send to Chabad centers increases,” Laine says. “We have already started printing a new batch of Megillahs for 2025, and Purim hasn’t even started this year.”

In advance of Passover this year, Kehot has also been hard at work printing and shipping out Haggadahs worldwide. In addition to the wildly popular Chabad.org Haggadah, the publishing house also produces editions in eight languages that uniquely have the same page numbers regardless of the language in question, making it easy for multilingual Passover seders to run smoothly.

In anticipation of the impending move, Kehot has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the expenses of the transition.

Rabbi Chaim Shaul Brook, director of Lahak, expressed gratitude for the support received so far, emphasizing that the new space will grant the two sister organizations the potential to “expand our operations and bring the wellsprings of Torah to even more students and readers.”

For Friedman, the new space is more than just a physical one. It is a clear expression of intent that their library will keep expanding and that operations will be smoother and more efficient than ever before.

“We are thrilled to embark on this next phase of growth and expansion for Kehot Publication Society,” he said. “And with the support of our community, we are confident that we can achieve our goals and ensure the success of this important initiative.”

Reprinted with permission from Chabad.org News.

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