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Dr. Cheryl J. Fish :
2 article(s)

Dr. Cheryl J. Fish is a scholar studying the environmental justice movement. She teaches at Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City. You may contact her at cfish@bmcc.cuny.edu
September 25th, 2008
A Jewish Mother Thinks About the Value of Religious Education

My nine-year-old son, Josh, is not interested in learning Hebrew or in having a bar mitzvah. The bar mitzvah, a Jewish ritual when a boy turns 13, is the transition from childhood to “manhood” that involves reading from the Torah in Hebrew before the entire congregation.
“You didn’t have one, Mom,” he emphasizes. I explain that in the 1970s girls often didn’t have a bat mitzvah…, the female version, especially if they were cultural, secular Jews who didn’t belong to any temple. Ironically, it is my parents, his grandparents, who are adamantly attached to the idea of a bar mitzvah for my boy.
“I hope I live to see Josh read from the Torah,” says my 85-year-old dad, repeating his litany. These are people

May 1st, 2008
Discovering the soul of environmental justice

At a local environmental action meeting I attended not long ago, I was surprised and encouraged by the diverse grassroots efforts at stewardship taking place all around me. There was a ten-year old boy at the podium who spoke of his passion for rescuing animals and caring for their welfare, while his mom on the same dais spoke of how their family decided to live without air conditioning in their Upper West Side Manhattan apartment as part of an effort to cut down on energy consumption—they went so far as to remove their radiators, take down walls, and renounce take out food for home cooked, healthy local meals that they ate together. None of the topics spoken about that day, however, fascinated me as much as the fact…

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