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





A 1976 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., was one of the first six women rabbis in the United States. A native of Boston, Rabbi Schneider holds a B.A. In Publication from Simmons College, Boston; an M.Ed. in Psychoeducational Processes from Temple University, Philadelphia; and an Ed.D. in Foundations of Education from Temple, as well as an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from the RRC. She attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and was awarded both the University and the Graduate School Fellowships at Temple. She has served as the Executive Director of the Board of Jewish Education of Atlantic County, New Jersey; as an Adjunct Professor of Education at Temple University and at LaSalle University; as Director of the Master of Arts in Education Program at Gratz College, Melrose Park, PA, and recently retired as Coordinator of Jewish Hospice and spiritual support counselor for Samaritan Hospice, Marlton, NJ. She has been a columnist for the Burlington County Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rabbi Schneider resides in Marlton, NJ, with her husband, Rabbi Gary M. Gans, and their sons, Natan and Ari Schneider-Gans.


Multipat-restaurant-on-waikiki-with-daimond-head-in-backgroundle award-winning author Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., one of the first six women rabbis ordained in the U.S., has decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She retired from her day job as a hospice spiritual support counselor to devote full time to writing.

In addition to ordination, she has earned a few degrees over the years, all in different disciplines and none worth much in the market place. (BA in Publication from Simmons College; M.Ed. in Psychoeducational Processes from Temple University; Ed.D. in Foundations of Ed. also from Temple; honorary D.D. from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College).

In her spare time (which she finds by never cleaning the house), she’s a birder and gardener, although her garden’s almost as much of a mess as her house. She believes in benign neglect: she plants it; if it comes up, great; if it doesn’t, she tries something else. She lets nature do the watering, which is why everything in the flower boxes is dead, and refers to the weeds as “wild flowers and decorative grasses.” When the weather’s nice enough to garden, she’s more apt to be birding or exploring (aka, getting lost) in the Pine Barrens.

Unlike her protagonist, Rabbi Aviva Cohen, Ilene has been married to the same man, Rabbi Gary Gans, since 1976, and has two “millennial” sons, making her part of the trendy group of “older” parents.

She is the author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries: CHANUKAH GUILT, which was nominated for the Deadly Ink David Award for Best Mystery of 2007, was one of My Shelf’s 2007 Top Ten Reads, and was a Midwest Book Review Reviewers Choice Book; UNLEAVENED DEAD, which was awarded First Place by the Public Safety Writers Association, was nominated for the Deadly Ink David Award for Best Mystery of 2012 and was described by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine as “… a solid, funny mystery that provides an insider’s look at Jewish life; and the latest, YOM KILLER, which won the David Award for the best mystery novel at the 2017 Deadly Ink conference.

Ilene also writes non-fiction. TALK DIRTY YIDDISH, described by the Jewish Forward as “…a breezy, engaging book,” will be released in a revised version soon. She edited RECIPES BY THE BOOK: OAK TREE AUTHORS COOK, and created a website of questions and answers about Chanukah.




  1. Betsy Garrity Foreman said:

    Hi Ilene, I have been reading Chanukah Guilt and loving it! I have been out of the GLS loop and only recently learned that you are an author. Well done!! I hope to attend our 50th (yikes!!) reunion next year and hope to see you there. All the best, Betsy Garrity Foreman

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