Rabbi Emily Segal is passionate about engagement and building relationships. She is a dynamic and skilled teacher who makes each person feel seen and known. A vocal advocate, Rabbi Segal is a justice leader who puts our values into action. An author and national leader, she is an important and rising voice in the Jewish world.
Prior to joining Temple Chai as its Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Segal served as the Rabbi of Aspen Jewish Congregation in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado.
Previously she served as the Associate Rabbi of Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, Illinois, in the suburbs of Chicago. Rabbi Segal grew up in a small, tight-knit Jewish community in Virginia, nurtured by one of the first woman rabbis, and she is the proud product of an interfaith home. Seeing her father grow in love for Judaism and passion for Jewish learning and eventually become a Jew-By-Choice was formative in her development and her path in the rabbinate. After graduating from the University of Virginia, her studies continued at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where she was ordained in Cincinnati in 2010. Rabbi Segal’s rabbinic thesis was entitled “Telling and Retelling: The Women’s Seder and Ritual Innovation.”
During her time in the rabbinate, Rabbi Segal is proud to have been a Balfour Brickner Social Justice Fellow, as well as a Clergy Leadership Incubator Fellow, focusing on leading dynamic change in congregations and organizations. She also earned an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern as well as a certificate in supervision from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rabbi Segal currently serves as Co-President of the Women’s Rabbinic Network (WRN), the international organization of Reform women rabbis which represents the more than 860 women, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals who have been ordained in the Reform Movement and who serve Reform congregations.
Rabbi Segal’s rabbinic interests include Jewish environmental and food justice, liturgical development, ritual innovation, biblical Hebrew, Jewish feminism, Mussar (Jewish mindfulness practice) and scriptural and halakhic (Jewish law) study. Her non-rabbinic interests include strong coffee, dark chocolate, good books, escapist baking, camping and paddle boarding, and live music. She is married to Rabbi Scott Segal. You can find them cooking together, dragging their young children (Samantha, 10, and Ezra, 7) on character-building hiking expeditions, and having family dance parties.
There is so much for which we are grateful. This week I have the honor of sharing with the Temple Chai family that our Special Congregational Vote overwhelmingly approved the selection of Rabbi Emily Segal to be our next Senior Rabbi.
Getting to know Rabbi Segal through the search process has been a joy. Rabbi Segal’s warmth, intelligence, vision, energy, excitement, and passion for Temple Chai are unmistakable in every interaction with her. I know she will lead us to great places.
Rabbi Segal will be with us full-time starting on July 1st.
A special thanks goes to my co-chair Helen Holden, whose leadership throughout this process has been extraordinary as well as every member of the Search Committee, each of whom spent dozens of hours working through both developing and implementing the process which produced such a wonderful result. Finally, we want to express our gratitude to Rabbi Simon, Rabbi Koppell, Cantor Wolman, and the entire Temple Chai team for their outstanding leadership during a challenging time. Our debt to them is incalculable.
I hope you share my excitement about this new chapter for Temple Chai. We could not have found a better rabbi to lead us as we move forward. Please see below for a message from Rabbi Segal.
David Weiner, President