Spotlight: Rabbi Ilene Schneider


Today on Reade and Write I welcome Rabbi Ilene Schneider, who is both an author and an avid reader. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland, and I’m thrilled to finally host her here. Ilene answers my questions for readers today, but I hope to have her back soon to answer my questions for writers, too!

Welcome to Reade and Write, Ilene!

How often do you read?

Constantly. When do I not read is easier to answer: when I’m talking with someone, when I’m driving, when I’m sleeping, when I’m in the shower, when I’m at the movies or a play or concert, when I’m at religious services … I can’t think of any other times I don’t read. I even read while watching TV. 

What is the name of the last book you finished?

The Cat in the Living Room, a natural and cultural history of house cats.

What are you reading now?

I just started Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress Moon.

What is your preferred genre?

Cozy mysteries, with ventures into natural history books (recently reread John McPhee’s Pine Barrens for the umpteenth time) and popular history (anything by Erik Larson).

What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?

The Cat in the Living Room.

Are you in a book club?


Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?

Kindle. I’m addicted to it. I realized a while ago it’s not books I love but reading.

How do you decide which books to read?

Recommendations, reviews, new releases by authors I’ve enjoyed in the past, books by authors I’ve met.

What is in your To-Be-Read pile?

How much time and space do you have? 28 on my to-be-read list, 39 on my “classics” (books I may reread, including such books as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Maltese Falcon, as well as Sherlock Holmes, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, etc.), 26 nature, history, biography, and research.

Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?

Yes, I want to see if any of the negative reviews contain criticisms of things I dislike, like excessively gory or gratuitous violence, explicit or gratuitous sex, lack of character development, stilted dialogue …

Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?

Whatever I’m currently reading. Assuming I like it to begin with.

Where is your favorite reading spot?

Wherever I am.

Anything else you want me to know?

If I have to lose a sense, I’d prefer anything but sight. I am a visual learner, so audio books won’t do it for me.


Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., one of the first six women rabbis ordained in the U.S., has finally decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She retired from her day job to devote full time to writing. 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; and Unleavened Dead, which won First Place from the Public Safety Writers Association, and was nominated for the Deadly Ink David Award for Best Mystery of 2012. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine called Unleavened Dead “… a solid, funny mystery that provides an insider’s look at Jewish life.” A resident of Marlton, NJ, near Philadelphia, she has completed  the third book in the series, Yom Killer, and is also the author of Talk Dirty Yiddish.

new-cg-front-cover          unleaveneddead-cover

Please visit her website/blog: or email her at

Thanks for stopping by, Ilene!

Until next time,


27 thoughts on “Spotlight: Rabbi Ilene Schneider”

      1. The author basically says cats are not domesticated. A so-called feral cat can survive quite well; it’s basic hunting instincts are intact. A dog, OTOH, cannot survive in the wild. It was illogical to domesticate cats. Unlike cows, they do not produce food. Unlike sheep, they do not produce clothing. Unlike dogs, they cannot be trained to perform specific tasks like herding or protection or drug detection. They adopted us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When you put it that way, it makes total sense. They have domesticated me, in other words. I provide a service to them. 🙂

        Thanks again for being on Reade and Write–it was a pleasure having you here!


  1. Interesting. I read as much as I can, but boy, it’s hard to find the time. These books sound interesting and this is the first time I’ve read about a Rabbi author writing mysteries. Also interesting. I miss watching TV, but 5:30 national news daily is about all I can take time for in the TV world. I’d love to watch a Christmas show this season. Good interview.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda! This time of year is the only time when I’ll sit down and watch movies without worrying about whatever else has to be done, including reading (gasp!). My list of must-sees includes The Bishop’s Wife, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, It’s a Beautiful Life, Christmas in Connecticut, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Happy reading and viewing!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Linda. I’m a night person, so I tend to read a lot when I should be sleeping. Then I wonder why I can’t wake up at a reasonable hour! (I also tend to wake up, and then loll around in bed reading instead of getting up. One of the perks of retirement.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Rabbi Ilene, i read constantly. My shelves and my Kindle runneth over. I’m always telling people who say they don’t have time to read that’s a bum excuse. Unless you have a partner who objects you can read while eating. You can read while waiting for appointments. You can read instead of watching TV. There’s always time to read.


    1. I agree. My husband and I occasionally read the newspaper while we’re at the table, but that’s only so that the papers don’t pile up and bury us. We prefer to do crossword puzzles when just the two of us are at the table. There’s always time to read, even if it’s just for a few minutes here and there. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Good morning! A lady after my own heart. I also read while watching TV. The commercials bore the heck out of me. Sometimes I miss things on TV because I get into what I am reading. Whoops.

    Have a wonderful week ladies, And don’t forget to

    “Keep Reading and Writing!”



    1. Hi Sharon! I usually don’t watch television and read at the same time, since I tend to watch stuff on DVR so I can skip through the commercials. I am excited to read Ilene’s books–they sound really entertaining (way more entertaining than tv!). Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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