The city of Sandy Springs presented its Humanitarian Award to Temple Sinai Senior Rabbi Ron Segal during the city’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration Monday morning, Jan. 16.
The award recognizes people who live or work within Sandy Springs and have made significant contributions in community service.
Like King, the city said in announcing the award, Rabbi Segal is “an inspiring spiritual leader whose thoughtful and compelling speeches and presentations motivate others from complacency.”
Rabbi Segal has worked at Temple Sinai, on Dupree Drive in western Sandy Springs, since 1996 and became the senior rabbi in 2006, less than a year after Sandy Springs was incorporated. He was involved in the founding of the Sandy Springs Community Assistance Center, food rescue organization Second Helpings Atlanta and Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb, and he has used his pulpit to raise awareness of community problems and to mobilize the congregation to action.
Rabbi Segal founded and for many years chaired the Sandy Springs Interfaith Clergy Association, and he remains a committee member. He has worked to solidify a close relationship between Temple Sinai and neighboring Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church through programs such as a shared scholar-in-residence weekend with Vanderbilt University biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine last year.
As the senior member of the clergy in Sandy Springs, he is routinely called on for guidance by Jewish and non-Jewish colleagues, according to the city announcement.
He is a vice president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the national organization for Reform rabbis, and serves on American Jewish Committee’s Atlanta board and the William Breman Jewish Home’s advisory board.
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, who is the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s lobbyist in the Georgia General Assembly, presented the award to Rabbi Segal. The King Day event also included remarks by Congregation Or Hadash Rabbi Analia Bortz and a keynote address by civil rights figure Xernona Clayton.
The previous recipients of the Humanitarian Award are Tillie O’Neal Kyles (2016), Betty and Phil Klein (2015), Hugo Mullins (2014), Felix Lora (2013), and Tamara Carrera (2012).