Archives before October 2020

Shanah Tovah from Gateways!

By Tamar Davis
September 18, 2020

A Rosh Hashanah message from CEO Tamar Davis.

Tagged under: video


A Video Message from Our CEO

By Tamar Davis
September 4, 2020

With kids going back to school all over the country, hear CEO Tamar Davis talk about the extra layer of challenges that COVID protocols present for those kids who already struggle to thrive in the classroom.

Tagged under: video


Speaking Publicly About My Disability

By Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer
August 21, 2020

Dear Friends,

It was overwhelming and heartening to see how many of you took time to watch my first video message two weeks ago—and thank you for welcoming me so warmly to my new role as CEO of Gateways. In my desire to get to know you and continue the imperative communal conversation about inclusion on behalf of all our children, I plan to use this space on two Fridays each month to share various thoughts, learning moments, and Gateways highlights with you.

It may seem logical that—considering the job I just took on (finishing my third week today!)—I would naturally feel comfortable talking about my own personal disability, and my experiences of advocating for myself in the Jewish community and beyond. However, this was most definitely not the case until well into adulthood. That first occasion where I spoke publicly about my personal journey of navigating our world with severe hearing loss was a life-defining moment that led me to where I am today at Gateways.

It was in 2011 when I was asked to speak one Shabbat afternoon as part of a “getting to know your neighbor” speaker series at my synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where I was living at the time. I entitled my speech, “To Hear or Not to Hear: What Was the Question?” What still amazes me most about that first time was the sheer number of people who attended that afternoon. Typically, about 100 people came to synagogue on Shabbat afternoons, but the day I spoke, over 300 people showed up. Afterwards, there were three main themes to people’s responses to me: many gained new insight on what it means to live with a disability, others were inspired (but not necessarily to action), and some even expressed how they didn’t feel comfortable talking about their own or a family member’s disability.

This experience was incredibly enlightening for me. I grew to understand that while we all want our communities and schools to be inclusive, all too often, we don’t realize how inherently non-inclusive our communities are until we hear a first-hand account of what a person with a disability is experiencing. I know now that my personal story is bigger than just me, and it needs to be told as part of the movement for inclusion in our society. 

From then on, I always said yes whenever I was asked to speak at other synagogues and with community leaders from my perspective as a person with a disability. In addition, I adapted my talk to include actionable insights, and to share practical steps on how a community can become more inclusive to all who want to access Jewish life.

I never dreamed that I would be adapting my talk to share a new perspective when I became a parent of a child with a disability (different from mine). And I certainly never dreamed that I would become the leader of an organization with a mission to advocate for inclusion for all of our community’s children, regardless of disability or diverse learning needs. How appropriate that in this week’s Torah portion reads the famed verse, “צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף” (Tzedek tzedek tirdof), “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deut. 16:20). What a clear call to action that we cannot desist in our efforts to create and sustain a just world, a world where every child has equal access to what they need to grow and thrive.

I meant every word I said in my video message, and I’ll say it again here: I want to hear from you, understand your thoughts about inclusion, and learn how Gateways can continue being a beacon of hope for our children in their path to becoming meaningful participants in Jewish life and learning. I always welcome your responses.

Wishing you continued good health and Shabbat shalom,


Category: Reflections & Perspectives


Farewell from Arlene Remz

By Arlene Remz
July 29, 2020

Click to watch a final message to our community from retiring Executive Director Arlene Remz. Thank you, Arlene!

Tagged under: video


Gateways Names Tamar Davis as CEO

By Michelle S. Alkon, President, Gateways Board of Trustees
June 10, 2020

Image of Tamar Davis Galper

As President of the Gateways Board of Trustees, I am thrilled to announce that Tamar Davis has been named Gateways’ new Chief Executive Officer.

The CEO appointment is the culmination of a yearlong process during which we reached out to our many stakeholders and partners in the greater Boston Jewish community to establish clear attributes, qualities, qualifications and experience for the individual to succeed our retiring founding Executive Director, Arlene Remz. We looked for someone with a commitment to the mission of Gateways and to Jewish values. We required leadership and management skills, strategic planning abilities, finance and operations acumen, capacity to build partnerships with key constituents and stakeholders, ability to think creatively, and the passion to serve as the voice of Gateways. We sought a leader who will effectively chart Gateways’ path as we enter the next chapter in our evolution.

Tamar was described by her references as the “perfect person to lead Gateways” and many said that “Gateways’ CEO is the perfect role for Tamar.” It was the unanimous and enthusiastic sentiment of the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees that Tamar Davis be offered the role of CEO. Characterized as an extremely dedicated professional, Tamar is a strategic thinker and thought partner who works collaboratively with her colleagues to develop and implement results-oriented solutions.

Tamar comes to this position from her seat on our Board of Trustees. As a person born with a disability, and a parent of a child with a disability, Tamar is keenly aware of how Gateways is striving to meet the ever-growing need for multiple paths of access to Jewish education for the broad spectrum of learners in our diverse community. Professionally, Tamar has been the Chief Development Officer for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston. She came to JCRC after 12 years at Hadassah, most recently as their National Director of Annual Giving. Tamar has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business. A proud stepmother and mother to five children, Tamar and her husband, Allan Galper, live in Brookline.

This change in leadership is a true flexion point for Gateways, as Arlene Remz retires as our first and only Executive Director. At Gateways’ founding she said, “With the formation of Gateways, Boston becomes the only community in the country that works on special education across all Jewish educational settings, including day schools, congregational schools, preschools and community schools.” Over the last 14 years, Arlene led Gateways from success to success in achieving that vision, strengthening our leadership position in the realm of inclusion in Jewish education and altering expectations across the community for welcoming people of all abilities. We are forever grateful to Arlene for her dedication, perseverance, imagination, and compassion in leading Gateways to this point in our organizational life.

Tamar has shared her excitement at joining Gateways. "I look forward to building on the vital foundation that founding Executive Director Arlene Remz implemented 14 years ago when she uniquely positioned Gateways to fill a need in the Jewish community – for children of all abilities to have access to Jewish education. My personal mission is based on creating a strong and inclusive Jewish community, and this can only happen when every child is fully included in Jewish life and Jewish learning."

Rabbi Marc Baker, President and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, notes that CJP has proudly partnered with Gateways since its inception. “Arlene Remz —and Gateways— have touched the lives of so many families in our community. She is leaving Gateways in extremely capable hands. Gateways’ new CEO, Tamar Davis, has devoted her career to Jewish communal relations and fundraising. At the same time, she has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to inclusion. Tamar will continue to ensure that Gateways will achieve its mission of giving access to Jewish education to every child.”

Please join us in welcoming Tamar Davis to her new role, which she will begin in August.


Search Committee Co-Chairs Lisa Hills and Barbara Schultz also contributed to this post.