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Goodbye, Gail!

Each week during JWA’s Thursday morning staff meeting, we sit around our conference room table and share “Words on the Street”—tidbits, stories, and anecdotes that we’ve heard from various places in the JWA community. This week, as Gail Reimer’s tenure as Executive Director comes to an end, we collected thoughts from our staff honoring the vision and commitment of our leader, colleague, and friend. We invite you to share your words and stories about Gail and JWA in the comments below.

“What makes Gail such a great leader is her high expectations of her employees. She strongly believes in their ability to deliver results, and in doing so, brings out the very best in them. Working with Gail, you always do everything you can to produce at a level that meets her standards and the standards she has established for JWA. It's been an honor to work for her.” –Pat

“Gail’s passion and drive created the JWA that we know and love. I am constantly inspired by how Gail took a spark of an idea and turned it into the incredible resource and community it has become today. Gail, thank you for everything you’ve given to this organization. I’m sure I speak on behalf of many when I say thank you for all you’ve given us.” –Miriam

“Last summer, Gail and I were running a session together at JWA's New York Workshop for Jewish Educators. Participants had brought in objects from Jewish women in their lives and were using them as a basis for sharing stories. At some point, Gail urged us to use the names of the women whose stories we were sharing. To us, these women were mothers, daughters, sisters, teachers, rabbis—and we were introducing them as such ("This was my grandmother's rolling pin she used to make hamentaschen…"). But what Gail asked us to do was acknowledge that while these women meant a lot to us as mothers, sisters, and friends, they were also individuals in their own right. By saying their names aloud, we were recognizing them as whole people. This has been one of the greatest lessons Gail has taught me: the real work is not in remembering women who have impacted us, but in making their stories known beyond the circles of close family and friends. To achieve the vision Gail laid out 18 years ago, each of us must play a part. It can start with a name.” –Etta

"It’s really not goodbye at all. Gail’s passion for the mission of JWA and JWA itself will carry on because of the love and hard work Gail’s passion has inspired. Our roads diverge, but our foundation is strong and as ready for continued growth and change as ever. You gave us that, and you’ll have us with you always." –Karen

“Over and over, I've seen Gail balance her enthusiasm for innovation with probing questions that help unsettle our assumptions and make sure every project is as good as it can possibly be. And she does all this while making each of us at JWA feel like valued members of the team who bring unique skills and strengths to the table. It's been such a joy and a privilege to work for you, Gail! May the next chapter unfold in wonderful ways.” –Lisa

“What can I say about Gail! She's my numero uno Woman of Valor, par excellence. Her vision and her energies have paved the way to give all of us women a place in history.” –Velda

"Gail is an model for anyone interested in social entrepreneurship. She saw a need, created a vision and then sought out core collaborators. Together they developed a viable economic model in order to develop and disseminate the content and services of the Jewish Women’s Archive. 18 years later, JWA is a thriving organization poised to continue along its path of excellence. Congratulations Gail!" –Tom

“Thank you to Gail, and her myriad supporters, who had the vision and brawn to create JWA. You have helped me to connect to my past in a way that makes me feel inspired every day. You have given me the opportunity to impart new wisdom and stories to my daughters, and essentially anyone who will listen.” –Paula

“Gail is, as my grandmother would say, a pistol: a brilliant writer, fearless leader, and very snappy dresser. I hope to follow in her footsteps as a woman who fights for her visions to become realities. Enjoy this next step, Gail! May it be filled with lots of vacations, good books, and continued recognition for your remarkable work.” –Tara

“There’s an aspect of JWA’s life that most of our followers don’t see, but they certainly feel the effect of it every time they visit our site: Gail’s uncanny ability to discover and nurture talented individuals. So many times over the last eight years of my tenure at JWA, I’ve seen Gail help new staff members hone their skills, explore and expand the territory where their interests lie, and find the paths to new areas of discovery. The best example lies before us today: our new Executive Director Judith Rosenbaum, who began her career with JWA by entering the basement office on Harvard Street as a researcher and is now poised to use her considerable talents on behalf of the organization that developed her. There are others who can point to Gail as the touchstone for the values they practice in their careers and hold dear in their lives. Their work for JWA is here on our web pages, our blog posts, and our lesson plans, a legacy that all can share.” –Stephen

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The original, the inspiring, the one and only.....Gail Reimer! We will miss her day to day leadership but not her friendship, which will be forever. She set the gold standard for all of us going forward. So take a bow, Dr. Reimer, and hope to see you in NYC soon.

How to cite this page

Metal, Tara. "Goodbye, Gail!." 27 August 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on June 26, 2019) <>.

JWA's lovely staff in August, 2014.

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