Letter from an (inspired) intern
Dear JWA Supporter:
It is with great pleasure that I write to you from a very special seat, at a very significant desk, at the offices of the Jewish Women’s Archive where I worked as the Social Media Intern this summer. I said to my predecessor, Online Communications Specialist and “blogger-in-chief,” Leah Berkenwald, “There must have been applicants storming the doors for a chance at this position!” No, she said, there weren’t hundreds. But there should have been.
You may think I haven’t seen much of life in only 28 years, but I have… I have lived a lot, seen a lot, experienced life deeply, richly, intensely. I think of myself as a discerning woman, yet I have found nothing in my journey that matches the exceptional nature of the Jewish Women’s Archive.
Where to begin?
Let us begin with Gail Reimer, the woman who birthed this organization in 1995, the woman whose blood, sweat, and tears (of joy I’m sure, of frustration I’m also sure) are in its every fiber. She, like the staff around her, is driven, resourceful, kind, and rather brilliant.
All summer I jumped out of bed each morning before my alarm went off, ready for a new day during which I’d be around extraordinary people, doing what I love to do: write, communicate, and connect people and ideas under the unified umbrella of Judaism and feminism. My life has opened up, has become so very gut, since joining the JWA team.
When Gail enters a room, you stop what you’re doing and take notice. At least I do. She has a quality to her… something that evokes justice, akin to our ancestor Deborah (perhaps it is how she listens, how she seems to weigh every single word she hears).
Gail is exceptional and consequently the Jewish Women’s Archive is exceptional. JWA’s tag-line is “Sharing stories, inspiring change.” She breathes that mantra into all that we do at the offices, into all the projects, materials, and initiatives that we churn out. I am the proof… the proof that what we do matters. I begin and end each new day at my new job an inspired woman because of Gail and the organization she has built, because of the extraordinary Jewish women I get to read about, write about, and celebrate each and every day. “Sharing stories, inspiring change.” Yes, this is our mission, and yet Gail has personally opened up the space and invited the same from me. I get to share my story; I get to be fully and unapologetically myself, adding my voice to the Archives, to our ongoing oral and written tradition.
I thank you for reading this. It’s a love letter of sorts. When you’re smitten, you just want to crow from the rooftops. At first an outsider, now an insider, I am completely convinced that this venture is worthy… of your support, of greater visibility, so that there will come a time when every young feminist my age will be knocking down JWA’s doors for a chance to do this work, to tell these stories, to make a difference.
In celebration of women, stories, and the Jewish tradition,
(Online Communications Specialist and Blogger-in-Chief Intern)