We are delighted to share with you that the Temple Chai Senior Rabbi Search Committee and Board of Directors are thrilled that the congregation voted to approve Rabbi Emily Segal as our new Senior Rabbi. Many of you had an opportunity to meet Rabbi Segal during her visit to Temple Chai. The feedback we received was not just overwhelmingly positive but extraordinary. For example, 94% of Temple members found that she had “exceptional” leadership skills, and in no category did she receive less than 92% “exceptional” ratings. Here are a few things your fellow congregants had to say about Rabbi Segal:
I would be more than thrilled for her to be my Rabbi! I adored her.... She embodies what is special about Temple Chai.
Rabbi Segal appeared to have the gift of reaching a person's soul.
Rabbi Segal seemed to listen to each congregant, across all age levels, was prepared and spoke from her heart.
Her warm demeanor and enthusiasm and her musical talents make her someone I would be excited to see on the bimah each week.
Her social justice background, inclusivity and innovation would be a good fit for Temple Chai.
I found her exceptional in every way.
I loved and found comfort in her voice and manner. She has a clearly spiritual quality that I can relate to.
Her enthusiasm was contagious and spiritually authentic. I feel like she could relate to people of all ages and stages.
We can’t wait for you to get to know Rabbi Segal better!
About Rabbi Emily Segal
Rabbi Segal is a visionary and transformational leader, currently serving as Rabbi of Aspen Jewish Congregation in Aspen, Colorado. In five growth-filled years in Aspen, Rabbi Segal spearheaded the creation of a new system for recruitment, welcoming and retention of members, leading to a 65% increase in annual new members. She partnered with the congregation’s lay leadership to reinvent the role of the Board and committees. A gifted teacher, Rabbi Segal’s adult education classes were a highlight of the congregational calendar. And her connection with children and teens is unmistakable; under her leadership, post-B’nai Mitzvah retention increased from 15% to 60%.
As Co-President of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, Rabbi Segal is a national leader of the Reform Movement, playing a central role in addressing some of the most complex issues facing our community. She co-created a landmark Family and Medical Leave Policy & Resource that is being used throughout, and beyond, the Reform Movement.
Rabbi Segal was selected for the Balfour Bricker Social Justice Fellowship from the Religious Action Center, and the Clergy Leadership Fellowship from CLAL and Hazon. She is currently completing an Executive Scholar program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.
Before Aspen, Rabbi Segal served as Associate Rabbi at Temple Jeremiah in suburban Chicago where she provided leadership to a 900-member congregation.
About Our Process
The recommendation from the Senior Rabbi Search Committee and the Board of Directors is the culmination of an eight-month long process.
A Search Committee that reflected the diversity of our membership -- with participation from Jews by Choice, ECC parents, seniors, LGBTQIs, Jews of Color, along with those that have participated in Mussar and our educational programs -- came together in April for intensive training in how to recognize and avoid implicit basis in the search process. In May and June, the Committee, with the help of a large Advisory Committee, defined the criteria it would use in evaluating rabbinic candidates.* In June and July we prepared the application material to submit to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which manages the search process.
*These were the following: Warm and welcoming presence; Inspirational for community; Can provide innovative spiritual programming; Grow and understand Judaism for 21st century; Imagine a sustainable future; Fundraising Experience; Attract and retain families with children and teenagers.
The process picked up steam in September, when resumes began coming in. We were quite pleased to receive applications from 15 rabbis. We made a first cut, and during September and October the Search Committee conducted first interviews with six candidates. In early November we had second interviews with four of the candidates and selected the two finalists.
The finalists each visited Temple Chai in December. The Search Committee worked hard to design visits that allowed as many congregants as possible to see the candidates in as many different settings as possible. After the visits, the Search Committee sought feedback from congregants, and worked to evaluate the two finalists. The Committee brought the Board of Directors, as noted above, a unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation that we offer Rabbi Segal the position as Senior Rabbi of Temple Chai. The Board has now added its own recommendation, and the decision moved to a vote of the full membership. (Under our bylaws, hiring a new Senior Rabbi requires approval by a vote of the membership.) As expected, the result of this vote was overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to welcoming Rabbi Segal on July 1, 2022.
We want to acknowledge and thank the hard-working members of the Senior Rabbi Search Committee:
Please feel free to reach to any of them with any questions about our process.
Click above for a full version of Rabbi Segal's visit.
Click above for highlights from Rabbi Segal's visit to Temple Chai in December, 2021.
We could not be more excited about the possibilities that this new chapter holds for Temple Chai. Thank you for your continuing support.
Sincerely, David Weiner, President, Co-Chair, Senior Rabbi Search Committee Helen Holden, Co-Chair, Senior Rabbi Search Committee
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