Jew By Voice

A monthly column on Jewish community dynamics by teacher and scholar Erica Brown.

In Sickness And In Health

Special To The Jewish Week

Syndicated columnist “Dear Amy” received a letter from a woman who said people were ignoring her sick friend because they found it too difficult to visit.

Erica Brown

Denial: Not A River In Egypt

The Angel of Death will be coming to a location near you. Let's give those we care about the gift of our love and wisdom while we can.

Special To The Jewish Week

The Nile has come up a few times in the past 10 days: floating infants, bloody waters, frogs popping up out of nowhere. It’s the season.

Erica Brown

Blood Upon Our House

Gun control should be the Jewish cause of our time.

Special To The Jewish Week

“You shall not bring blood upon your house.” (Deuteronomy 24:8)

Erica Brown

My Gateway Drug: Groupon

Why does the Jewish community work so hard to attract the indifferent while taking others' loyalty for granted?

Special To The Jewish Week

My teenage son calls Groupon my gateway drug.

Erica Brown

Getting To Nordstrom’s

Judaism is a great product. So why does our poor customer service get in the way, again and again?

Special To The Jewish Week

These are days when retail lines are filled with disgruntled people returning holiday presents that they can’t re-gift, like that sweater with only one sleeve or the alarm clock that plays “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.” It’s a great time for sales and also a great time to think about customer service.

Erica Brown

What To Wear To The Post-Nup?

Special To The Jewish Week

So I just got my first invitation to a post-nuptial agreement party.

Erica Brown

Good To Go

Special To The Jewish Week

Right before Yom Kippur, my husband and I put a deposit on two burial plots. We paid with a credit card (we need the frequent flyer miles for cargo) and received word that our eternal real estate in Israel was in process. In case our prayers were not effective, we had an alternative.

Erica Brown

Born To Repent: The Boss And Elul

Special To The Jewish Week

I grew up in Bruce Springsteen country.

Erica Brown.

The Art Of Personal Transformation

A Jewish perspective.


In my work as a Jewish adult educator, I constantly speak with people who are poised to change. Often a significant life event prompts them to return to learning — the bar mitzvah of a son, divorce, the death of a parent, the intermarriage of a child — as an anchor at a time of personal upheaval and as an opportunity to grow. Adults negotiate an alarming number of fears, from job loss to rejection in relationships. We seek higher education at a time of fear and disjuncture as a place to find answers to questions that may not be answerable. We seek inspiration.

MICHAEL DATIKASH, Music lesson, Queens Gymnasia/Jewish Institute of Queens, 2005.

The Father Of Pharaoh

Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat Candles: 4:19 p.m.
Torah reading: Leviticus 12:1-13:59;
Exodus 12:1-20
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
Havdalah: 5:23 p.m.

In this week’s Torah reading, Joseph brings his family down to Egypt to live in the land of Goshen and enjoy relief from the famine in Canaan. He tells his brothers to send a personal invitation to his father. However, the invitation is marked by irony, a telling word play and a sad statement of family distance.

Erica Brown
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