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

Archive for December, 2022


Caution: Results may vary.

These are slightly offbeat categories.

They are not the usual “my favorite movie” categories. Those would be: GOAT (Casablanca), best made (Citizen Kane), ground-breaking (tie between M and Metropolis), comedy (Some Like It Hot), musical (Dancin’ in the Rain).

Favorite TV series made from a movie: MASH; The Odd Couple

Favorite movie franchises made from a TV series: Star Trek: TOS, TNG, and the reboot; The Muppets

Favorite superhero franchise brand: MCU

Favorite DC movie: Wonder Woman

Favorite, albeit uneven, long-running sci-fi franchise: Star Wars

Favorite streaming sci-fi series based on movies: The Mandalorian, Andor (Star Wars); Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (MCU)

Favorite Jewish themed, non-schmaltzy generational/cultural clash movies: Hester Street, Crossing Delancey, Frisco Kid

Favorite based-on-a-Shakespeare-play movie: West Side Story

Favorite Nazi/Holocaust foretelling movie: Cabaret

NB: These are my favorites, not a list of all that I’ve watched.


I caught the end of a discussion on NPR about movie sequels, and it got me thinking about movie remakes. The ones I enjoy the most – in no particular order, because I keep changing my mind about which is my favorite – are:

*all the various remakes of “The Front Page,” whether starring Adolphe Menjou and Pat O’Brien or Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau or Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday;”

*the remake of my favorite classic madcap comedy “Bringing up Baby,” starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, updated as “What’s up, Doc?”with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal;

*”To Be or Not to Be,” remade by Mel Brooks and Anna Bancroft from the original which starred Jack Benny and Carole Lombard,

Honorable mentions:

*the 3 remakes titled “A Star Is Born,” reinterpreted from the original “What Price Hollywood?”;

*”King Kong,” cheesy but enjoyable.

*“Planet of the Apes,” with an interesting backstory;

NB: I’m not including Disney’s live action remakes of animated films like “Beauty and the Beast,” or foreign language films transformed into English versions, such as “La Cage aux Folle,” which became “The Birdcage.”


There are several problems with writing a series: internal consistencies with plots, descriptions of continuing characters, dates; not repeating names or favorite phrases; divulging enough explanation of past events to inform new readers without giving away the endings of previous books in the series; supplying enough of a back story for continuing characters for new readers to understand their stories without boring readers of previous books.

It’s now 2023. But for Easter (another “movable feast”) to occur a few days after Purim instead of Passover, as is the usual pattern (it’s explained in the book), the book occurs in 2008.

 The solution to the mystery in Killah Megillah relies heavily on forensic evidence. Many of the techniques used, including the fairly new discipline of historical genealogy, which was instrumental in discovering the identity of the “Boy in the Box” who was found in Philadelphia in 1957 and was the “Unknown Child” until 2022, had not yet been developed in 2008.

Here’s where literary license enters the picture. I generally try as much as possibly to describe now common technology, such as cell phones or social media, as it existed in the years when the books take place, not when they were written or published. But I decided to bend the chronological “rules” in this book and have the investigators use forensic science that may not have been available fifteen years ago. 

So, those of you a lot more knowledgeable than I am, when the book is finished and published, please suspend your sense of disbelief enough to enjoy the book, scientific anachronisms and all.

*Chanukah Guilt – takes place in early Dec, 2002; first edition copyright 2007

Unleavened Dead – takes place in early April, 2004; first edition copyright 2012

Yom Killer – takes place in early Oct., 2006; copyright 2016

Killah Megillah – takes place in early March, 2008; copyright 2023 (?)