Posts in category "Reflections & Perspectives"

Hope and mourning on this Tisha b'Av

By Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer
July 16, 2021

This week, I share some brief personal thoughts on Tisha b'Av, (the 9th of Av), the day of Jewish mourning coming up this Saturday and Sunday. In my video, I reflect on how I navigate parallel feelings of mourning and hope — both on this day and in my own experience learning about my child's diagnosis.

Category: Reflections & Perspectives


Independence is a Work in Progress

By Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer
June 25, 2021

In this video message, I take some time to reflect on the twin Independence celebrations of Juneteenth and the 4th of July. This week, I share — through my personal lens as a Jewish mother of a child with a disability — how I understand the journey of independence, and what we owe to one another along the way.

Category: Reflections & Perspectives


Disability Doesn't Discriminate

By Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer
June 4, 2021

People often share with me that Gateways’ annual Sweet Sounds event stands out among many other events because, when you look around the room, you will see representation from every part of our Jewish community. Disability doesn't discriminate, but rather cuts across any divide, whether political, religious, economic, racial, or sexual. However, we as Jews also understand well how disability can compound with other marginalized identities.

June is Pride Month, where members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community celebrate LGBTQ+ identity and protest against discrimination and violence. During these first few days of June, I found myself on the Keshet Boston website, reading their "Seven Jewish Values: Guidelines for inclusive Jewish community," which Keshet created to serve as a basis to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality in Jewish life. What I loved about these particular values is that they are truly universal, and can be read through an intersectional lens that applies to anyone.

"Kavod / respect," "B’tzelem Elohim / in God’s image," or (one of my favorites), "Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh / all Israel is responsible for one another," are just some of the values we want to model for the next generation during Pride Month year-round. However, the value that resonated most with me in this current moment, especially as our society reopens more broadly in this stage of the pandemic, was number seven: "Al tifrosh min hatsibur / don’t separate yourself from the community." Keshet's "Seven Jewish Values" says, “When you feel different from others in your community, don’t isolate yourself. Find allies and supporters who you can talk to. If you know someone who is feeling isolated, reach out; be an ally and a friend.”

Indeed, we need our allies and friends now more than ever across every divide, because we are stronger together than apart. I remain forever grateful for YOUR continued support and friendship to Gateways and our global, proudly diverse Jewish community.

Category: Reflections & Perspectives

Tagged under: inclusion, jewish values, community


What Memorial Day and the menorah have in common...

By Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer
May 27, 2021

Because it's almost Memorial Day Weekend, I'm sharing my video message a little early this week! In honor of the upcoming holiday, I also wanted to dedicate the message itself to the 1.3 million Americans who have given their lives for this country, and share some words about the over 4.5 million veterans living today with a service-related disability.

I hope you will check out my message and share your own Memorial Day reflections with me.

Category: Reflections & Perspectives


Thank you, Teachers

By Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer
May 7, 2021

There are many educators in my family, and one thing I know is when we get to this time of year, teachers (and students!) are counting a different kind of Omer – the Omer of counting until school is out. That feeling is surely heightened this year because of the sheer intensity of adapting to a pandemic-driven school environment. Yet, even as this school year starts winding down, the level of commitment from our educators never wavers.

How appropriate then that this week we celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week. The origins of this week date back to the 1950s, when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt lobbied for a National Teacher Appreciation Day before Congress. When National Teacher Appreciation Week as we know it now was established in the 1980s, the National Education Association (NEA) felt that the purpose of this week should be to “not only honor teachers but to show them that they help make lasting impressions on their students’ lives.” So this week, I’m dedicating this space to all our teachers and educators who work tirelessly at or with Gateways to ensure that every child is able to participate meaningfully in Jewish life and learning.

Thank you for all you do each and every day to engage our children in learning, to cultivate their curiosity and awareness of the world around them, and to foster a sense of belonging in our Jewish tradition and community.

Category: Reflections & Perspectives

Tagged under: day school, teaching