The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Tanya Segal

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Tanya Segal until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photo of Rabbi Tanya Segal courtesy of Rabbi Segal.

As the first full-time female rabbi in Poland, Tanya Segal has creatively transformed Jewish life in the historic city of Krakow through her blending of Jewish learning and performance art. Segal began her career as an actress in the Moscow Jewish Musical Theater. After moving to Israel in 1990, she studied Jewish mysticism at Tel Aviv University and entered rabbinical school at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2006, a year before her ordination, HUC–JIR performed Segal’s play And Her Name was Heather, a fusion of the Book of Ruth with the story of a modern American convert. In 2007 Segal visited Krakow for the first time and recognized that its Jewish population (a fraction of what it had been before the Holocaust) needed leadership that could providing new models for engagement. She helped establish a progressive synagogue, Beit Krakow, in 2009, offering prayer services and lectures on Jewish history and contemporary Jewish art. She also created the Midrash Lab, which uses music, dance, and theater to reinterpret Jewish texts. In 2012 Segal helped officiate the community’s first bat mitzvah ceremony for a local girl.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Tanya Segal." (Viewed on September 26, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/segal-tanya>.

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