January 27, 2020

Leadership to Undergo Transition at Shalhevet High School

Rabbi Ari Segal and Rabbi David Block

Rabbi Ari Segal, head of school at Shalhevet High School, announced he plans to step down and instead serve as the modern Orthodox high school’s chief strategy officer.

In an Aug. 12 email to the Shalhevet community, Segal discussed his intention to make aliyah with his family at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. He stated he will continue to work at Shalhevet four days a week throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. 

However, during the second half of 2020-2021 academic year, Segal said he will move into his new position as chief strategy officer while Rabbi David Block, Shalhevet’s assistant principal of Judaic studies, will become head of school.

Segal, who has served as Shalhevet’s head of school since 2011, said he expects to continue to make an impact on Shalhevet in his new position.

“In this role, I will focus on how we can grow and prosper in the coming decade and devote my time to developing new initiatives and serve as the ambassador for the Shalhevet hashkafa [worldview] on issues locally, nationally and internationally,” he said. 

According to the release, Block will be appointed associate head of school at the start of the 2019-20 year, with Segal mentoring him so that he is ready to take on the role of head of school in the second half of the 2020-2021 academic year.  

“I have been extremely humbled and gratified by the outpouring of support and incredibly excited that Rabbi Block will be taking over for me.”  — Rabbi Ari Segal

“This will allow for a smooth and seamless transition in the leadership of the school — a rarity in the Jewish day school world,” Segal said. “For those of you who don’t know him, Rabbi Block has the respect and admiration of his colleagues and students at Shalhevet, in our community and beyond. This is no small part due to his passion, dedication, talent, and perhaps more importantly, his deep humility.”

In an email to the Journal, Segal wrote, “I have been extremely humbled and gratified by the outpouring of support [of our decision to make aliyah], and incredibly excited that Rabbi Block with be taking over for me.” 

The Shalhevet board of directors made the decision to appoint Block as Segal’s successor in consultation with national Jewish education experts. In a statement, Shalhevet Board President Noam Drazin said Segal informed the board of his decision to make aliyah a few months ago. He said it was not surprising news given Segal’s passion for Israel but is a “significant change for our school community.”

Drazin said that Segal, working from Israel as the school’s chief strategy officer, will allow Shalhevet to enter into “new and greater opportunities and partnerships with institutions both here and in Israel.” 

“Rabbi Block brings and has brought a passion for learning, cooperative leadership and a sense of humility to our institution for the past three years, first as Mashgiach Ruchani [spiritual supervisor], and currently as assistant principal of Judaic studies,” Drazin said. 

 “The Board is confident in this decision and looks forward to Shalhevet’s accomplishments under Rabbi Block’s leadership.”

Block, 31, is a founder of the Maccabeats Jewish a capella group.

Segal’s wife, Atara, who also is on the Shalhevet Judaic studies faculty, became the first woman to teach Gemara at an Orthodox high school in Los Angeles, and is referred to at Shalhevet by the title of “Yoetzet Halachah,” a designation given to a woman certified to be an adviser for other women on family purity issues.

Drazin said that Segal and Atara have made an important contribution to the school and they would be missed. 

“Shalhevet has never been stronger — academically, Jewishly and financially,” Drazin said. “And that is due, in large part, to their commitment to our school and community at large.”