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

Archive for the ‘WRITING’ Category


What a nice way to start the day! I was checking for a book on Amazon and decided to sneak a peak at my books’ reviews. I found a new one for YOM KILLER. Thank you to the reviewer for your kind words.

“A winner – Buy this book if you enjoy cozies! Rabbi Aviva Cohen is a strong, funny woman and loveable character. This is the first of the Rabbi Cohen mysteries I’ve read, and I plan to read the rest. I enjoy “cozies”, mystery novels not saturated with gore and over the top sex. The author, Rabbi Schneider, does not disappoint. She welcomes you gently into her tight circle of friends and family, entices you with her wonderfully dry sense of humor drawing you down her path of suspense.”




Apologies to those of you who may be having difficulty finding print copies of Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead from Amazon. I received my rights back from Oak Tree Press, and my new publisher, Aakenbaaken and Kent, is re-issuing them. The new Kindle edition of Chanukah Guilt is available: ( The others will be available soon.

And, of course, you can still purchase YOM KILLER ( for trade paperback; and for Kindle) and TALKING DIRTY – IN YIDDISH? (

Thank you for your patience during this transition period.


From another 5-star review of YOM KILLER on Amazon (and DorothyL): “This story touches on a subject that many of us have, or are perhaps currently dealing with: Medicare issues, senior facilities, and caring for elderly relatives or parents. Told with compassion and humor, and a light and easy approach to Judaism that won’t overwhelm those who know little about the faith. I highly recommend this book, and indeed the entire series, which consists of three books so far: Unleavened Dead, Chanukah Guilt, and Yom Killer.


I can hear you now: “Why should I buy Talking Dirty – in Yiddish? After all, I already own the original Talk Dirty Yiddish: Beyond Drek. Okay, so this book bills itself as a ‘revised, expanded’ edition, but what’s different besides the title and cover?”

I’m glad you asked. Here is one reason per night of Chanukah:

First, the book is expanded – by an extra 100 pages.

Second, it includes alphabetical glossaries of Yiddish words, phrases, and sayings with their English translations.

Third, there are new stories, explanations, jokes, and anecdotes.

Fourth, where else will you find all the “Yiddish Curses for Republican Jews” in one place, compiled from various sources online (with proper attribution, of course)?

Fifth, it includes links to YouTube videos on such topics as the mangling of the pronunciation of such words as “chutzpah,” and of various people’s attempts to define Yiddish words.

Sixth, it includes real life examples of Yiddish words that are used and misused in casual (and not so casual) conversations and in mainstream media (newspapers, radio ads, TV shows, movies, comic strips).

Seventh, at some point in 2018, it will be available not only as a paperback, as it is now, but as a hard cover and on Kindle.

Eighth, it’s still perfect for a Chanukah gift, stocking stuffer, house warming present, and bathroom reader.




Have you wondered what the older generation was hiding when they spoke Yiddish in front of di kinder? Did you know that ‘glitch’ is a Yiddish word, but ‘kitsch’ is not? Have you tried to spell ‘tchotchkes’? Have you noticed all the Yiddish words that are part of colloquial English? This book, a compendium of useful, and sometimes off-color, words and phrases and how to use them to spice up your English conversations, explores these and many other questions. Although it may seem similar to other books on the Yiddish language which are lexicons of Yiddish words and phrases transliterated into the Latin alphabet and translated into English, Talking Dirty – in Yiddish? differs from them in that it goes beyond being a listing of words and phrases with their translations. Each phrase or word is followed by humorous examples of how to use them in English conversation. The introductory chapters and numerous sidebars contain trivia, little known facts, history, and background on Judaism and the Jewish people and their languages and culture, including Yiddish literature, music, theater, and movies. Rated X by the author’s parents and PG by her kids.


It’s about to happen. For real. In time for gift giving season. (But every season is the time to give gifts!) Watch this space for purchase links, coming soon.


Talking Yiddish cover


This afternoon I went to see “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” about how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. I’m glad I ignored the mixed but generally mediocre reviews: I loved the movie.
It’s the second one I’ve seen recently about how a writer overcame inner obstacles and found the inspiration to create their best-loved works, classics that have lasted for generations. In Good-bye, Christopher Robin, A. A. Milne was blocked by PTSD. Dickens was blocked by three successive “flops” (the word used in the movie, although etymology dictionaries – I looked it up – say the word did not mean “failure” until 50 years after the events of the movie). Each man had lost the confidence to continue to write. Each man eventually found the spark that became their books.
What I enjoyed most about The Man Who Invented Christmas is what many critics, professional and lay, disliked: the weaving of reality, fantasy, dreams, flashbacks. But these scenes seemed to me to be a perfect visual metaphor for the writing process. Like Dickens, my characters speak to me, tell me what they want to happen. Dickens laments, as he is stymied about how to end the story, “My characters won’t do what I want!” He also is an observer, telling a friend “I am working,” when it appears that he is aimlessly wandering around a crowded market; but he is actually observing, eavesdropping, jotting down unusual names, finding material to incorporate into his story. And every writer can empathize with his despair at the sight of a blank piece of paper, although these days it’s more likely a blank computer monitor.
The cast was quite good. Dan Stevens as Dickens acquitted himself well against such seasoned actors as Christopher Plummer (as Scrooge) and Jonathon Pryce (as Dickens’ father). And I always enjoy character actors Simon Callow and Miriam Margolyse. It was also fun to see Annette Badland in a small background role as the jolly Mrs. Fezzywig, a departure from the only other roles I’ve seen her in, as an alien bent on world domination in “Doctor Who” and as the nasty Aunt Babe in “EastEnders.” (I’ve noticed that I am much more familiar with contemporary British actors than I am with American ones.)
The movie will not lose much on the small screen, but was definitely worth the price of the movie ticket.