As the first full-time female rabbi in Poland, Tanya Segal has creatively transformed Jewish life in the historic city of Krakow, the site of previous revolutions in Jewish thought and practice. Discriminated against in Russia for a Jewish heritage she knew little about, Segal began to discover and take pride in her heritage as an actress in the Moscow Jewish Musical Theater. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1990 she went to Israel, where she studied Jewish mysticism at Tel Aviv University before entering rabbinical school at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Upon visiting Krakow for the first time in 2007, Segal recognized that although the city was drawing young professionals, they had little connection to the aging Holocaust survivors who made up the city’s Jewish community. She brought the two populations together by establishing a progressive synagogue, Beit Krakow, in 2009 and offering prayer services and lectures on Jewish history and contemporary Jewish art. She also incorporated her love of performance art into her revitalization of the Jewish community by creating the Midrash Lab, which uses music, dance, and theater to reinterpret Jewish texts.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Tanya Segal." (Viewed on January 30, 2023) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/segal-tanya>.