Text of school emails announcing Rabbi Segal’s departure and Rabbi Block’s succeeding him


Ezra Fax

SUCCESSOR: Rabbi David Block, currently Assistant Principal for Judaic Studies, will transition gradually into the role of Head of School, officials announced today.

The following combined email — the first section from Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal and the second from Board President Dr. Noam Drazin — was sent to the Shalhevet Community at 12:59 p.m. Aug. 12.

SUBJECT: Exciting News!

I am writing to share several important and exciting announcements pertaining to the future of the school.

At the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, my family will move to Israel. As Religious Zionists, Aliyah has been a dream for us for many years, and with the support and guidance from Nefesh b’Nefesh and our family, we are confident in our ability to make this dream a reality. Atara and I realize that the sooner we get our younger children in the Israeli school system, the greater their chance for a successful integration. On a personal level, my father is getting older, and I feel the need to be closer to him to help him navigate this stage of his life.

I will continue to be at Shalhevet full-time, over four days a week, throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. On top of that, Atara and I are thrilled that Lehava (our second daughter) will stay in Los Angeles and attend Shalhevet. We love Shalhevet and everything it stands for and we are thrilled that we will have another child experience the unparalleled education of the school.

I am proud to be at the helm of this incredible institution and am filled with hakarat hatov for being blessed to work with such a devoted group of faculty and staff, an inspiring student body, an incredible parent body, a dedicated board and a supportive and generous greater Shalhevet community. We have never been stronger.

Which brings me to more exciting news: During the second half of the 2020-2021 school year, I will step down as Head of School and assume a new role of Chief Strategy Officer at Shalhevet.  In this role, I will focus on how we can grow and prosper into the coming decade and devote my time to developing new initiatives and serve as an ambassador for the Shalhevet hashkafa on issues locally, nationally, and internationally. I look forward to building partnerships across the country and in Israel, bringing what we have accomplished to the broader Jewish educational world. I will share more specifics towards the end of the upcoming academic year.

Which brings me to the final, incredibly exciting, announcement: The Shalhevet Board of Directors, in consultation with national Jewish education experts, has made the decision that Rabbi David Block, our beloved and respected Assistant Principal of Judaic Studies, will be appointed Associate Head of School to start this school year and gradually move into the role of Head of School with my direct mentoring. This will allow for a smooth and seamless transition in the leadership of the school — a rarity in the Jewish Day School world. 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 in no small part due to his passion, dedication, talent and, perhaps most importantly, his deep humility. I am honored to partner with him.

Rabbi Block and I will spend the next two years working jointly on every aspect of the Head of School position, from interacting with students and faculty to managing budgets to recruiting our incoming class. He and I will both represent the school at community events throughout the coming months and will work together to ensure a strong fundraising future for Shalhevet.

Rabbi Block is looking forward to establishing and nurturing relationships with families considering sending their children to Shalhevet as well as with those families already at the school as he assumes primary responsibility for family engagement. Parents and students in the recruitment process will have ample and meaningful opportunity to get to know him along with the other members of our wonderful faculty and administration.

As you know, we have a remarkably talented, experienced, and dedicated administration. We are grateful that Mr. Daniel Weslow, our beloved and experienced Principal will continue in his role while offering support and guidance to Rabbi Block; Dr. Jonathan Ravanshenas, our Director of Student Life, and Sarah Emerson, our Chief Operating Officer, will continue in their vital roles on our senior leadership team and will also work to support Rabbi Block as he embarks on this next stage of the school’s incredible educational path.

I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the faculty and students that are truly the heart and soul of the school. From the moment I came to interview at the school almost 10 years ago until today, the faculty and students have been Shalhevet’s crown jewel. I will continue to savor and appreciate the relationships I have with the students, alumni, and faculty of Shalhevet.

Finally, I am deeply grateful to Dr. Noam Drazin, the Executive Board and the Board of Directors for their belief in this vision for Shalhevet’s next stage, their commitment to Jewish education writ large, and their constant dedication to providing the leadership and resources that enable Shalhevet to be Shalhevet.

I look forward to this exciting future together.
Rabbi Ari Segal


Dear Shalhevet Community,

A few months ago, Rabbi Segal informed the school’s Executive Board of his family’s desire to make Aliyah after this coming year. Anyone who knows the Segals and their passionate commitment to Israel is not surprised by this news, but it is a significant change for our school community. We have spent these last few months working with Rabbi Segal and educational consultants on a plan that I am incredibly excited about. As Rabbi Segal mentioned, in the second half of the 2020-2021 school year, he will be stepping down as Head of School and taking on a new role — one that will blaze a trail forward in the Jewish Day School world. He will serve as the school’s Chief Strategy Officer, guiding Shalhevet to new and greater opportunities and partnerships with institutions both here and in Israel.

In preparation for the future, and after much discussion among members of the school leadership as well as numerous conversations with national Jewish education leaders, the Board of Directors has decided to appoint Rabbi David Block to be our next Head of School. Rabbi Block will assume the role of Associate Head of School for this academic year and we anticipate he will become the Head of School during the second half of the 2020-2021 school year. He will work closely with Rabbi Segal, Chief Operating Officer Sarah Emerson and Principal Daniel Weslow prior to fully taking over the reins of the school. 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, and currently as Assistant Principal of Judaic Studies.

To help us manage this transition, the Board has engaged a consultant, who has worked extensively with Jewish institutions of learning across the world, to provide both advice and support to the Board as well as to the school leadership.
Members of our Board, our consultant, and Rabbi Segal are all working as a team to support and nourish the talent we are already privileged to have and identify any areas for growth. The Board is confident in this decision and looks forward to Shalhevet’s accomplishments under Rabbi Block’s leadership.

I want to take this opportunity to express our hakarat hatov to Yoetzet Atara and Rabbi Segal for their exceptional years of service so far. Shalhevet has never been stronger — academically, Jewishly, and financially — and that is due, in large part, to their commitment to our school and community at large.

Rabbi Segal has elevated the school to unexpected levels and burnished the Shalhevet name at the local, national, and international level. Under his leadership, we have recruited an unparalleled faculty and administration. Rabbi Segal has deepened the school’s immense sense of compassion and helped continue the tradition of giving our students voices they did not realize they had. Cindy and I have seen this personally in our eldest daughter as she fervently expressed her concern for the BDS movement on her college campus and we are seeing it in our younger daughters as they have found their confidence and voices while growing academically and religiously.

I look forward to the Board, administration, parents, community, and students working together to continue to ignite and evolve the flame.

Noam Drazin, M.D.