Among various lifetime accomplishments, like organizing youth to raise funds for the Soviet Jewry movement as a child, working with Cleveland Pride for 20 years, starting the award-winning JFSA Project Chai: Family Violence Program (now Families at Risk), Brynna Fish said her biggest achievements are sharing “gestures of love.”
She relayed examples like smiling at a person in the car driving next to her, or helping someone get into a Yom Kippur service who didn’t have a ticket. As a nonprofit consultant and volunteer, Fish is used to taking on many roles, from playing music at religious gatherings to photography to event managing. However, a common theme throughout all of her many projects is jumping in to help out when she sees a gap that needs to be filled.
“After the Orlando shooting, as a Jew and a lesbian, I was really shaken to my core,” Fish said.
After learning that no one was planning an event to mourn the victims in Cleveland, Fish did it herself. Under the auspice of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland she planned the Greater Cleveland LGBT Interfaith Unity Rally, where 35 faith-based and allied organizations partnered, of which 15 were Jewish.
She said engaging the Jewish community with LGBTQ and intersectional issues is vital because despite increasing acceptance, there is still a long way to go.
“We reached 2016 and the idea of gay OK is pretty widespread and that’s a very dangerous place of complacency to be,” Fish said. “We can get married on Sunday and fired on Monday and people don’t know we still aren’t legally protected.
“I used to say when my work will be done is when folks can come out comfortably. Now I say, until all expecting parents and grandparents will be equally excited about having a gay or lesbian kid, my work is not done,” Fish said.
– Amanda Koehn