JWA 18th Anniversary
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THE JEWISH WOMEN’S ARCHIVE TO CELEBRATE ITS 18TH ANNIVERSARY, HONORING FOUNDING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GAIL TWERSKY REIMER
Celebration to be hosted by comedian and actress Judy Gold
New York, NY—The Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) will celebrate its 18th anniversary with two events, the first in New York City on May 5th—hosted by comedian and actress Judy Gold—and the second in Boston, Massachusetts on September 14th. Both events will honor the leadership of founding executive director Gail Twersky Reimer, Ph.D., who will step down from her position as founding executive director in June 2014. Full details are online at www.wizadjournal.com/jwa2014.
"Eighteen years ago, when archives were largely confined to dusty basements, robust online collections of stories simply did not exist," said Barbara Dobkin, founding chair of the JWA board of directors. "In 1995, Gail was truly on the cutting edge by establishing JWA as a digital archive for thousands of stories about the struggles and achievements of Jewish women—in politics, medicine, religion, the labor movement, the civil rights movement and beyond. Most of these stories had never before been valued, documented, or made available to a broad public."
JWA is the first and only organization dedicated to uncovering, chronicling, and transmitting the rich history of North American Jewish women. Through its digital repository at jwa.org, the organization contains the most extensive collection of material about North American Jewish women anywhere in the world. In addition to its digital content, JWA trains educators and partners with institutions to teach a more inclusive narrative of Jewish history using a range of resources— historical documents, posters, creative lesson plans, oral history guides, and archival photographs—that trace the lives and contributions of Jewish women over time.
In recognition of her visionary work, Reimer was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of the 50 most influential Jews of the year in 2001 and by Women’s eNews as one of its "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" in 2006. In 2011, Reimer was honored by Auburn Theological Seminary at its "Lives of Commitment" event and by Hebrew College with the Dr. Benjamin J. Shevach Memorial Award for Distinguished Achievement in Jewish Educational Leadership.
Reimer began her professional career as an English professor at Wellesley College. She was awarded fellowships from the American Association of University Women and the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, and received the prestigious Pinanski Prize for excellence in teaching. From 1988 to 1995, Reimer was the Associate Director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities (MFH), the state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In the early 1990s, Reimer conceived and co-edited two path-breaking anthologies of Jewish women’s writings—Reading Ruth: Women Reclaim a Sacred Story and Beginning Anew: A Woman’s Companion to the High Holy Days. This work led to the founding of the Jewish Women’s Archive in 1995.
"I am grateful that I am leaving the organization at a time of remarkable strength and vitality, and with great excitement about JWA’s future," said Reimer. "As I reflect on this time of transition, I can’t help but think about the significance of 18 years. In Jewish tradition, the number 18 represents chai—life. The life of JWA is rich, diverse, and dynamic. And this life is only just beginning. It will undoubtedly flourish with new leadership and enduring innovation."
This year alone, JWA directly served more than 1.2 million people: researchers, scholars, and students who used its ever-expanding collection of online resources; educators who participated in the organization’s professional development institutes, webinars and workshops, and a growing base of friends and supporters who attended JWA’s public programs.
"We are indebted to Gail for her pioneering leadership and powerful vision to ensure that Jewish women have a valued and visible place in our collective story," said Tamara Kreinin, Co-chair of the JWA board of directors. Co-chair Susan A. Raskin continued, "Gail has opened up a wellspring of knowledge about the past and built a powerful platform to shape the future."
In October 2013, JWA launched the Rising Voices Fellowship, a year-long program for female-identified teens to integrate their passions for Jewish life, gender equality, and writing.
"Thanks to JWA, I get to explore Judaism through a feminist lens, which is something I have never done before," said Hannah Elbaum, a 2013-2014 Rising Voices Fellow. "I am really excited about how the fellowship is shaping my Jewish-feminist identity. I also love to write, and this is a venue for me to improve my writing skills and write about myself in relation to history, Torah, and current events."
The New York celebration commemorating the 18th anniversary of the Jewish Women’s Archive will take place on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM at The Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, New York City. Details online at www.wizadjournal.com/jwa2014.
The Boston celebration commemorating the 18th anniversary of the Jewish Women’s Archive will take place at 6:00 PM on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at the JFK Presidential Kennedy Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston. Details also at www.wizadjournal.com/jwa2014.
Visit the Jewish Women’s Archive at jwa.org.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA 18th Anniversary." (Viewed on September 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/news/2014/140429-jwa-18th-anniversary>.