Campus Gala Honorees
Mike & Teri Segal
In the summer of 1983, Mike Segal had relocated from Connecticut to Akron for his job at General Tire, and his wife, Teri, was planning to join him a month later with their young daughters Rachel and Jessica. Driving on 77, Mike saw the Israeli flag over the treetops and followed the White Pond exit to the JCC.
"The very first guy I ran into was the JCC Executive Director Hy Tabachnick. I told him I was moving here with my family, and he said, 'Let me show you the Early Childhood Education wing,'" Mike says. "I called Teri that night and said, 'I think I found a preschool."
Today, Mike works for a national wealth management firm, and Teri is a retired speech pathologist for the Akron Public Schools. She continues to work part-time with preschoolers who have disabilities. Their daughters graduated from Revere High School, and now Rachel lives in the Chicago suburbs while Jessica works for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
"(When we first moved here,) we reached out to Temple Israel, and I spoke to Cantor Gertz," Teri says. "He gave us the information we needed about the synagogue, and then before we hung up, he asked me if I'd like to teach Sunday School. I never did, but I always felt flattered."
Over the years, Mike and Teri have served in leadership roles at the Shaw JCC and Temple Israel. Mike is a Shaw JCC past president, current vice president of the Jewish Community Board of Akron, and an officer and current co-president at Temple Israel. Teri served on the Campus Gala committee, and a variety of committees at Temple Israel, joined ORT, was involved in the preschool parents' committee, chaired the community's Purim Ball celebration, served as Auxiliary co-president, and is a member of the Temple Israel Sisterhood's executive board.
"It's a win-win because you have that socialization, and you also feel like you're doing something good for the community," Teri says. "We came here knowing no one, so our friends became our family."
Together, Mike and Teri chaired Club 750 and participated in a Young Leadership trip to Israel in 1992.
"My vision for the future of Jewish Akron is to lay the foundation for continued Jewish involvement and proactively engage those folks," Mike says.
Teri adds that if people have benefitted from the open arms of Akron's Jewish community, it's their responsibility to get other people involved.
"The community has done so much for our family and us. I'm happy to have done whatever we've been able to do - individually and as a couple - and would like to continue that and pass it on," she says.