Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

NJ is the punchline of many mean-spirited jokes. Find out what residents of South Jersey know and why they disagree with the rest of the US – and North Jersey.  Check out my guest blog on Annette Snyder’s site “Fifty Authors from Fifty States” at

And if any of what I wrote sounds familiar, it’s because I cribbed from my own previous blogs on the topic!


  1. Not sure if the other blog is going to publish my comment, or you will see it, so I’m sharing with you here. Loved what you said about Jersey. This is what I said. (Maybe you can tell I am traumatized by my ten-year hiatus, lol.)
    “I used to think the grass was greener on the other side of the fence, hence the name of my blog, http://www.GreenerPastures–, and left New Jersey for Oklahoma, where I found out Yankee is not a baseball team. When we couldn’t take being ostracized and discriminated against anymore, we tried Virginia, figuring it was on the East coast, it would be more open-minded and kind. Ahnt! That’s a buzzer. Finally, after giving it a good try for ten years all together, we hightailed it back to Jersey. A lot of people leave here because they buy the load of goods that we bought that Jersey stinks, literally and figuratively, but my theory is most of them would come back if they could. They won’t tell you that because they are trying to be positive and make the best of it like we did (I actually called the wind in Oklahoma a “welcome breeze when it’s hot”), but unless you are lucky or wealthy, it’s very difficult to move from a cheaper area to a more expensive area, especially without jobs. We got lucky because we bought a couple of fixer-upper houses and had some equity. Most people don’t, after they move to Florida or North Carolina. It’s been almost four years now and we are living a better quality of life than we were in either Oklahoma or Virginia. We are in South Jersey now, but we’ve lived all over the state previously. I started out in Jersey City (don’t bash North Jersey either! There’s a lot of great things about the north too!), moved “down-the-shore”, lived in Central Jersey, and everywhere in between and it’s all great. We have cities and mountains and beaches and farms. There is something for everyone here. I live on a farm right now, surrounded by Italian vegetable farmers and horse farms and it’s dead quiet as I write this. All I hear are the birds. But it is a hop, skip and a jump to Philly or the beach or the mall, if you are so inclined to shop. Like you, I’m not. But I can if I want to! There are museums and libraries and don’t get me started on the places to eat. Best of all, the people are nice. Though we didn’t know a soul when we came to this part of the state, the people have welcomed us with open arms and I am stuck here now because my daughter would never leave this loving community, even if I wanted to. I’m not saying everyone is nice. But in Jersey, you know who likes you and who doesn’t like you because they will come right out and tell you–they’re honest here–and not simply smile in your face and say “Bless your heart,” and then refuse to do business with you because you have an Obama sign on your lawn. In fact, you can have a knock-out, drag-down fight with your neighbor over politics here and then still be friends when you’re done because Jersey is tolerant of all kinds of people with all kinds of views. The ONLY thing that stinks about New Jersey is the traffic and property taxes but even with that, we are living better because we get more work here. When I see traffic now, I think “work! money!” We’re kinder to animals here, we care about the environment (look at all the solar!), the school systems are better, you can get a pizza delivered, and we have Bruce Springsteen! I am grateful to be back home.”

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