Manic Readers

Ilene S. Schneider

Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D. hasn’t decided yet what (or who) she wants to be when she grows up. (She lives by the t-shirt logo: “I may grow older, but I’ll never grow up.”) In her current incarnation, she is Coordinator of Jewish Hospice for Samaritan Hospice in Marlton, NJ, near Philadelphia. (She was one of the first 6 women ordained as a rabbi in the US, back in 1976.) Interested in nature and conservation, she has also worked for the New Jersey Audubon Society at the Rancocas Nature Center.

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; M.Ed. in Psychoeducational Processes from Temple; Ed.D. in Foundations of Ed. from Temple; honorary D.D. from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for surviving 25 years in the rabbinate). She also began piano lessons for the first time in her life when she was in her 50′s — a total disaster (especially for the teacher), but fun.

She is the author of Talk Dirty Yiddish and two mystery novels, Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead. She has also been a columnist for the Burlington County Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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.

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

Ilene's MR Links
Current Releases
Rabbi Aviva Cohen is a 50-something, twice-divorced rabbi living a fairly uneventful life in South Jersey. True, she has a family that is rather unconventional. And her first ex-husband is moving to her town. But her life takes a truly interesting &m...
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Chanukah Guilt
Two members of Rabbi Aviva Cohen’s congregation are found dead, victims, they say, of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. But Aviva has info that leads her to doubt it was an accident. Then, police suspect Aviva’s niece’s partner ...
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Unleavened Dead

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