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


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.”

Loved it!

If you’ve ever wondered where Rabbi Aviva Cohen got her nose for mystery (and trouble!), you’ll find out in “Yom Killer”! Aviva teams up with estranged sister, Jean Meisner, and not-so-estranged ex-husband, Steve Goldfarb, to discover the truth behind the “accidental” injury that sent her 96-year-old mother to the hospital and the sudden increase in deaths in her retirement facility. A witty, engaging mystery and fun read!”

 – Amy M. Bennett, author of the award-winning Black Horse Campground mysteries 


Anyone who has dealt with the health care needs of the elderly will identify with Rabbi Aviva Cohen as she fights for her mother’s welfare. Only her mother’s problems are tougher than those faced by most elderly – like the murder of her friends, her attempted murder, fraud, and robbery.

This is the best in this series. As usual, Rabbi Aviva Cohen is feisty, honest, and funny. The author’s experience ministering to the elderly is apparent. This cozy rings true.

 – J. L. Greger, author of the award-winning Science Traveler medical mystery thrillers


If I’m ever in trouble, forget the marines.  Send in the rabbi!  In Yom Killer you’ll have a great time watching Rabbi Aviva Cohen shedding light on the shadiest hospital in New England. This is Schneider’s best yet.

– Robert Lopresti, award-winning author of Greenfellas


Yom Killer is a heartwarming tale of murder and Medicare fraud.

– Jeff Markowitz, author of the Casey O’Malley mysteries and of Death and White Diamonds


When I finished the last of the twelve Rabbi David Small mysteries (That Day The Rabbi Left Town ), I experienced the sense of loss anyone who enjoys series feels when there is not a next one. Now, twenty years later, I have discovered the Rabbi Aviva Cohen series. The David Small character was rabbi for an orthodox congregation. Aviva Cohen’s congregation is not orthodox, and no one would describe her as orthodox, religiously or otherwise. She is brash, funny, nosy, and blunt. In a word, meshuganah. But she is every bit as captivating and the mysteries every bit as much fun as Kemelman’s work, the first of which won an Edgar. Maybe Rabbi Ilene Schneider will win one as well. From my lips to G*d’s ear, I can hear her saying.

– Mike Orenduff, author of the award-winning Pot Thief Murder Mysteries


A heroine who loves Mel Brooks, Milky Ways and matzoh balls – what’s not to love? Rabbi Aviva Cohen is back in action trading quips with her quirky relatives and besting bad guys when a series of mysterious deaths at a senior facility strikes perilously close to home. Great fun – and as the saying goes “you don’t have to be Jewish…”

– Rosemary Harris, author of the Anthony and Agatha-nominated Pushing Up Daisies and The Bitches of Brooklyn


4.5 stars (out of 5) from Davida Chazan:

Where do I begin with reviewing this book? I could start with how I enjoy Schneider’s style. It is friendly, open and she makes me smile …. What makes me enjoy Schneider’s books so much is the humor that she includes. Rabbi Aviva’s self-depreciation and indulgences in food come together with her relationships creating situations you’ll not be able to stop yourself from giggling about. Of course, that doesn’t mean Aviva is any less aggressive and unconventional in getting things done, nor any less adorable than we’ve already witnessed. This of course, makes all of her characters even more endearing  …. Schneider succeeded in bringing all of these elements together to make a real pleasure of a read. When times are tough, having something like that can be a true blessing, and I believe that Schneider did me a “Mitzvah” by letting me read this book.


4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads from Josh Caporale:

Yom Killer proves itself as a great continuation to the Rabbi Aviva Cohen series and is reason to why you should have this series as part of your book collection. A rabbi solving mysteries is just about unheard of in the world of books and this clearly addresses that empty gap and does it with justice!


4 out of 5 stars on Amazon:

Rabbi Aviva Cohen brings justice with humor in Yom Killer
Slow to develop what the mystery is, Yom Killer is nonetheless a winner. Readers will find a strong female protagonist, familiar characters, an intriguing series of incidents and clues, and moderate and friendly Jewish content accessible to all levels of knowledge. Plenty of dry humor frames the family story that plays out alongside the mystery.
Early hints play out gradually as we get to know the characters, potential layers of deception, and ultimately what crimes are committed and by whom. The mystery and the the characters seem familiar and generally realistic.
Hints at previous crimes solved by protagonist/sleuth Rabbi Aviva Cohen are well placed to suggest that she is both an ally and a bit of a bother to the police, including her ex-husband who plays a major role in this novel despite being out of his jurisdiction. And the layers of Judaism are generally well addressed to ease the non-Jewish or lesser-educated Jewish reader. If anything, I thought there could have been a little more Jewish flavor throughout the story — but that’s the kind of reader I am.
All in all a good read. 4 plus stars.


5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon by Bette Nan Green

Another home run

Another great book in this series, with lots of twists and turns that made it a great page turner. Now on to Aviva’s next adventure.


5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon by lawlady

Another great entry in this series. The characters and stories are appealing. Good fun.


5 out of 5 stars on Amazon by Phyllis Cohen Deitch

Yom Killer was enjoyable and suspense filled from the start …

Yom Killer was enjoyable and suspense filled from the start. Entertaining and interesting characters. Looking forward to more of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries.


From Lois Hirt on DorothyL

I read Ilene Schneider’s other two books in the Rabbi Cohen series. I have been waiting for YOM KILLER to come out because I liked the other two books and what’s  there not to like about a book where I, along with my late husband Joe, 8 of my grandchildren, and a friend of mine are characters in the book. There is one sentence that I had to laugh at: it says “They decided a long time ago that a name that sounds like “hurt” wouldn’t be good PR for a company specializing in medical and elder care.” and that’s because when I was a practicing dental hygienist I wouldn’t tell my new patients my last name and one of my nephews is a pedodontist and is only known as Dr. Darrin not Dr. Hirt. (There are other Hirt doctors in the family.) Ilene told me I am much nicer in person than the Lois Hirt character in the book.

YOM KILLER-Ilene Schneider-Newest/ third in the Rabbi Aviva Cohen series this time taking place in Massachusetts-“No time is ever good for a family emergency, but for a rabbi the period just before Yom Kippur is especially difficult. Yet even though the Holy Day is approaching, Rabbi Aviva Cohen rushes off to Boston to be at the bedside of her mother, who is found unconscious in her apartment at an assisted living facility. The big question is; was it an accident or an attack? The search for the truth uncovers everything from old grudges to family secrets to fraud-and possibly murder.” First line: “I hate pre-dawn phone calls.” Ilene did send me a book, which I would have bought anyway, but I did buy books for the family.

From Anne Louise Bannon on DorothyL

Just Finished Reading…

Yom Killer, by our own Ilene Schneider. I love Rabbi Aviva Cohen, and the rest of Schneider’s cast is a blast.

This one is also interesting in that the instigating incident is an attempted murder, the actual murders have all happened way before and nobody is really thinking about them until near the end. And yet, it’s still a very compelling novel.


5 out of 5 stars on Amazon

“This was a five-star read, the characters were very realistically portrayed, and the mystery plot was a maze of twisted clues and misdirection which kept me reading straight thru the book.” –


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