Jane Sickles Segal

b. 1910

A Jewish woman of German descent, Jane Segal was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1910 and raised in the Church of Christ, Scientist. Her mother joined the church after a rabbi insensitively told her that the death of her newborn child was "God's will." After marriage, Segal decided to join a synagogue and raised her children with a Jewish education. She graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1932 with a degree in French and spent a year abroad studying in France. From 1958 until 1980, Segal worked as a secretary for the Newton Public School district. Her husband Bob Segal was a newspaper editor and later became the first president of Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts. 

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Jane Sickles Segal discusses her family life and growing up in Ohio. She describes how her mother converted from Jewish to Christian Scientist after losing her first child and being told by a rabbi that it was "God's will." Jane's maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Germany and founded a liquor business, the S. Klein Company. She recalls her experience at Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in French, met her future husband, Bob, and spent her junior year abroad in Nice and Paris, France. She and Bob were married two weeks after graduation and moved to his hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio, where he became editor of the newspaper there, and they started their family. After five years in Chillicothe, Jane and her family moved to Boston, where Bob was offered a job as the Jewish Community Council director. She discusses life in the US during "the time of Hitler," mentioning the rise of Nazi groups in American cities, and refers to her work with Jewish community councils. Jane and Bob were close friends with Fran and Joshua Loth Liebman, a well-known Reform rabbi from Ohio who became the rabbi of Temple Israel in Boston in 1939. The Segals were founding members of Temple Shalom, and Bob served as its first president. After her children were grown, Jane found work as a secretary to the principal of the Horace Mann School in Newton. Segal reflects on her family life and raising children in Boston. 

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Jane Sickles Segal. Interviewed by Roberta Burstein . 14 August 1997. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 30, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/segal-jane>.

Oral History of Jane Sickles Segal by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.