Cherie Koller-Fox

Cherie Koller-Fox lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves as the president of NewCAJE, originally the Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education. She grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where she was involved in BBYO. From a young age, Cherie knew she wanted to be a rabbi. After attending college in Akron, Ohio, she taught Hebrew in her local synagogue and became interested in Jewish education. She came to work for Harvard Hillel Children's School in Cambridge, developing innovative Jewish education programs. Cherie commuted to the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York, where she was ordained. She also studied under Israel Scheffler at the Harvard Graduate School Of Education in a department called Learning Environments. When Harvard Hillel Children's School became Congregation Eitz Chayim, Cherie served as the rabbi there before founding and becoming president of CAJE and later NewCAJE.

Scope and Content Note

Cherie shares Jewish memories from her youth of lighting Sabbath candles, her bat mitzvah, and visiting Israel with BBYO as a teenager. She wanted to be a rabbi when women were not yet allowed to be ordained as such. Cherie traces her career path after college, teaching at Harvard Hillel Children's School in Cambridge, pursuing but not completing a doctorate in Jewish education at Harvard, and then studying and becoming ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a non-denominational seminary in New York City. She helped found CAJE, Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education, to have more impact in the field of Jewish education. Cherie explains how the 2008 recession bankrupted the organization, but she and her colleagues eventually rebuilt and reestablished it as NewCAJE. Looking back on her career, Cherie reflects on historical changes in the rabbinate, challenges she's faced in her career, and using Judaism to navigate personal crises.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Cherie Koller-Fox. Interviewed by Lynne Himelstein. 31 March 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 29, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/koller-fox-cherie>.

Oral History of Cherie Koller-Fox by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.