6:30 AM: I wake up. Okay, I don’t wake up. My bladder wakes up. I reach for my glasses on the night table and knock them to the floor. I grope blindly (literally, not figuratively) and finally locate them. Bladder is now signaling a code red. Make it to toilet just in time. Wash hands while trying to figure out who staring back at me from the mirror. Give up and go back to bed.

6:35-8:25 AM: Toss and turn, unable to fall back to sleep.

8:25 AM: Fall back to sleep.

8:30 AM: Clock-radio alarm goes off. Grumble, try to find off switch, find it, go back to sleep.

8:35 AM: Wake up in a panic that I can’t breathe. Feel as though there is a ten-pound weight on my chest. There is. Cat decided I made a nice pillow.

8:40 AM: Wake up again in a panic. Suddenly recall I have a 9:00 meeting with the synagogue president at the local diner.

8:40-9:00 AM: Brush teeth; take meds; skip shower; try to tame hair into some semblance of human tresses; find sort of clean pants and sweater, socks that match each other, shoes that match each other; make mental note to do laundry.

9:00 AM: Back out of garage while texting president that I am on my way. Barely miss sideswiping garage pillar with passenger-side mirror. Again.

9:15-10:30 AM: Breakfast and “meeting” with president, at which we talk about everything except the agenda for the Board Meeting; decide we’ll communicate via email later.

10:45 AM: Walk into synagogue. Put on bright smile and pretend I’m full of energy for my secretary, who really runs everything, while simultaneously trying to conceal pastry bag from the diner. Even breakfast must have dessert.

11:00 AM-12:30 PM: Go through messages – voice mail, email, snail mail – with my secretary. Ask her to draft an agenda for the meeting. (She really does know more about what goes on than I do.) Close my office door and pretend to work on eulogy for 1:30 funeral. Check personal emails and movie schedules instead.

1:15-2:15 PM: Meet bereaved at cemetery for graveside ceremony. Goes well. They are comforted. No hidden animosities are revealed. Everyone in family is talking to each other. We give the deceased a dignified farewell, after which the family goes to a nearby restaurant to forget their sorrow and divvy up the estate. I politely decline the invitation to join them.

2:30-4:30 PM: Stumble on dead body. Solve case. Make police look like fools. Again.

5:00-6:00 PM: Make obligatory appearance at religious school.

6:00-7:00 PM: Meet with engaged couple for pre-marital counseling session. As with almost every couple at whose wedding I have officiated over the past few years, they met on JDate. They’ve already passed the online compatibility tests, so not too much advice needed.

7:00 PM: Get phone call from irate ex-husband, who is also the Police Chief, berating me for interfering and making his officers look like fools. Again. Make plans to meet the next night for dinner. It was an amicable divorce, and many years in the past.

8:00-10:00 PM: Sit through bored – I mean board – meeting. Receive mixed messages: compliments for having solved mystery; reprimands for doing so on synagogue time.

10:30 PM: Finally get home. Collect mail, sort through, dump most into recycle bin. Feed Cat, who pretends to be angry, but probably didn’t realize I hadn’t been home all day. Water plants in the hope that the dried out sticks will suddenly sprout new leaves. Read the morning paper. Watch the evening news and check to see what the DVR had recorded. Fall asleep on couch.

1:00 AM: Stumble up to bed. Laundry still not done. Still haven’t showered. Well, there’s tomorrow morning.

The next day: repeat.


You can read more about Rabbi Aviva in Unleavened Dead, the second book in the “Rabbi Aviva Cohen” mystery series. The first book in the series is Chanukah Guilt.

Meet the author
Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., one of the first women rabbis ordained in the U.S., hasn’t decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She is currently Coordinator of Jewish Hospice for Samaritan Hospice, Marlton, NJ, where she lives with her husband, Rabbi Gary Gans, and two “millennial” sons. She is the author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries, Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead, and is working on the third, Yom Killer. She is also the writer of Talk Dirty Yiddish. Please visit her website.blog, on Facebook or you can email her.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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