Interview

Israel Moskowits - Gertel's Bakery

Mr. Moskowits: I learned baking home-made style.

Do you have any favorite dishes?
I don’t care, whatever you have to make, I make. My hobby’s baking.

So you love your job?
Yes. [pause] As long as they pay me, I love it.

Do you bake for friends and family on your own?
When I’m home, I’m not a baker, I’m a father. One time my wife started to bake and I had to finish it. Since then I don’t let her bake.

So do you know a lot of the customers?
I don’t know the customers because I’m the whole day baking. I don’t know customers, I know the wholesale customers, that’s what I know…. Every day’s busy. Wednesday’s the busiest. It’s a very hard job. I would like to look for easier job. I love the baking but it’s very hard. It’s day and night. I start 2 o’clock in the night and finish 5 in the afternoon. … It’s very hard. You know I have kids. … I know mechanic, I know electric, I know intercom, I know circuit TV, I know — a lot of stuff. I don’t know. I’ll think of something.

Can you describe a typical day?
Everyday is different. Today I have a big order more than a 1,000 babkas. Plus we have to make rugulach, challah that rise up. About 12:00 we’re starting the rye bread. We got to be finished…

You said you get here at 2 in the morning and stay until 5?
Yes. A lot of times we stay more than 5. But we have 2 shifts over here. From 5 til 2 or 3 in morning comes one shift. Then from 2 or 3 in the morning comes the next shift.

Are you here for both shifts?
I’m here in between. I’m in charge. I told you I’m the manager and I have to be here in between to make sure everything goes in [the oven].

So what do you like eating the most?
Oh, I don’t like cake.

You don’t like cake?
No… Let me explain, in my house, my mother’s house, there only was talk about diet. I was always diet-minded. My mother always teach us we’re not allowed to eat a lot, or we’ll get fat.