Mati Landner could not have been more connected to his work place than this: he was born right here in the second floor of his bakery in “Beit-Israel” Haredi neighborhood, Jerusalem, 83 years ago. “The floor above the bakery was our home and this is where my father and sisters were born” Mati says.
The street where the bakery is located is named “Lendner Street” after the grandfather that established the bakery and was from the founders of the veteran Jerusalem neighborhood.
The bakery makes only one product: ״Chala” A traditional Jewish bread, which is baked in an old brick oven. The recipe is the same recipe from Romania “with some improvements I added through the years” Mati adds.
The bakery consists of 3 generations: Mati (83), His father Zalman and his grandfather Moshe-Dov.
The grandfather, Moshe Dov Lendner, came to Israel from Romania in 1880. People told him that “you go to the holy land to die not to live” and he replied that he is going to build the land. He came to Israel on foot and with horses and the way was tough. He started to bake bread for the family and due to the demand opened the bakery in 1896, in the same house where the family was living. When Mati’s father, Zalman, was 18 and finished his studies in Yeshiva, his father asked him to take over the business.
Mati had 8 brothers and sisters, Mati is the second before the youngest among them. They were always in business since they were small. After Mati was in school and finished his Army service, his dad asked him to join the business. “I didn’t want to do it” says Mati, “but my father said he is building this bakery for me and I have to continue”. So since 1952, since he was 21, Mati has been in the business. His father continued to work beside him until his latest years, and died in 1964. Five of his brothers and sisters have also passed away.
Today Mati is a grandfather himself, with 2 children and 5 grandchildren. None of them want to continue the business “Nobody wants to work hard today”, Mati says. “Today you can easily make more money in other businesses and fields”. 5 years ago Mati narrowed the activity to 24 hours a week- from Thursday eve to Friday noon. Mati and his family are religious but not Haredi. The neighborhood was also religious and became Haredi only in the last decade or so.
“I don’t earn enough this business to make it worthwhile, but you can’t just close a business of 118 years without thought” he says. He intends to continue “Until the messiah comes!” he adds.