About The Word Mavens

When Philadelphia editor Joyce Eisenberg met writer Ellen Scolnic, it was a match made in publishing heaven. The two met while Joyce was editor at the Jewish Exponent newspaper and Ellen was a regular contributor. One day they were looking for more information about a certain Jewish wedding custom and realized that they needed a handy dictionary. They couldn’t find one, so they decided to write one!

Their Dictionary of Jewish Words (A JPS Guide) is a user-friendly guide to more than 1,200 Hebrew, Yiddish and English words related to Judaism. Their book is ideal for modern Jewish families, intermarried families and anyone who wants to learn more about Jewish holidays, foods and traditions. The Dictionary, arranged in an easy-to-use A to Z format, has been hailed as an informative and indispensable reference.

In addition to touring and speaking about the Dictionary, they’ve been writing partners ever since – dispensing advice to President Obama, their husbands, and anybody who will listen. Together they’ve written a syndicated column about holidays that appeared in newspapers nationwide and articles for InterfaithFamily.com, an online resource for families who are exploring Jewish life.

Ellen is a feature writer, reporter and publicist. She writes for local and national publication on topics ranging from planning a birthday party in a museum to decorating a bedroom on a budget. A syndicated newspaper columnist, Ellen enjoys writing personal essays that provide an insider’s glimpse into the daily decisions and dilemmas that modern families face.

Joyce is an experienced author and editor. Although she’s written about topics ranging from aging to x-rays, she’s most passionate about travel. A conscientious writer and a respectful editor, Joyce lends her expertise to newsletters, memoirs, brochures and website content.


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