All She Wrote

A monthly column from Elicia Brown, a thoughtful Jew, mother, wife and New Yorker.

Sleep, Pray, Love

11/12/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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I am not a morning person. When the alarm sounds, I roll toward my husband, attempting to hold him there, hostage to the world of sleep, hoping we can linger on in the realm of delicious dreams for a few minutes more. And yet, at least one weekday morning each week, I rise early and depart for synagogue.

Elicia Brown

The Seven-Year-Gift

10/09/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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Unless you’ve been living overseas, or under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the rare coincidence this autumn of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, and of creative ideas to celebrate it —  sweet potato latkes; donuts filled with cranberry jelly or pumpkin cream; and, of course, “Menurkeys,” ceramic turkeys whose feathers hold Chanukah candles (the brainchild of our friend’s 9-year-old son, Asher Weintraub).

Elicia Brown

A Case Of Dueling Dynasties Hits Home

08/06/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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Stories of Jewish women trapped in dead-end marriages, held hostage by embittered husbands, always disturb me. Jewish law assigns the man the exclusive right to confer a divorce, and some men abuse that power, vengefully refusing to release unhappy spouses from the bonds of matrimony.

Elicia Brown

Ode To Joy Ladin

07/09/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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Like many women in midlife, Joy Ladin tenses up as she approaches a mirror. But upon seeing her reflection — a bob of wavy hair, a long skirt, a bold necklace — Joy feels grateful. For more than four decades, Joy lived as Jay, a woman trapped in a man’s body, a woman wearing a beard, a woman who could never don a dress without repercussions, a woman who was so distanced from her body that she felt “far away, or far below, or somewhere within,” the loving family with whom she lived. During these years, a fleeting glance at her face would traumatize her.

Elicia Brown

This Is Forty(something)

06/11/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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I distinctly remember the pleasures of being 23, of jogging through the parks of Tokyo, where I then lived, the frogs croaking and cicadas humming in the evening’s darkness, my body and soul invigorated by the endless possibilities that lay around the next bend, wherever that might be.

Elicia Brown

Heaven Can Wait

05/07/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

I’ve already kissed her good night, but my daughter Talia, who is 11, pulls closer and whispers, “I’m afraid of dying.”

“You dying?” I ask. It is a ritual we have been through before. “My dying? Daddy dying? Grandma and Grandpa dying?”

“Everyone,” she answers, as she has many times since she was 3 years old and spotted a strangely motionless fish washed up on a Long Island beach.

Elicia Brown

Another Lens On The Shoah

04/09/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

In the tiny German village where she grew up, Rivka Weinstein was known as Cathrin. She played in the meadows and prayed in a church.

Elicia Brown

Fringe Benefits?

03/05/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

Not so long ago, I felt my first stirrings of tallis envy.

Elicia Brown

Winter Of My Discontent

02/13/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

Perhaps it’s the madness of mid-life, or the doldrums of winter, or just plain bad luck, but I haven’t been enjoying 2013 so far. I’m sick of sickness. I’m worn out by worry. I’m besieged by bickering children. My patience has been worn to the thinnest of rags.

Elicia Brown

Not Easy Being Green

01/08/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

I’ve seen this look before. It’s the way my husband responds to news that I’ve planned a trip involving the New Jersey Turnpike. But that’s not my plan this time. 

Elicia Brown
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