Deputy Mayor Elie Katz tried to bring Nachum Segal, host of the “JM in the AM” program and founder of the Nachum Segal Network, to Teaneck for years. He first met Segal when he was invited to be a food vendor for his fundraisers. Each time he spoke to Segal during a broadcast, he pitched the attributes of Teaneck and tried to persuade him to move there.
After a fire destroyed Segal’s New York City studio last year, the time was right. He moved into an office on West Englewood Avenue, deliberately choosing a small room since he thought it would only be temporary. But Teaneck’s charms took hold. In addition to rebuilding his New York studio headquarters, Segal made a permanent studio in Teaneck. He plans to split his time between both locations.
On March 24, Segal dedicated his new Teaneck studio—a much bigger room in the same building. Joining him in the studio were his music director, Mark Zomick, who lives in Teaneck; Rabbi Chaim Hagler, head of school at Yeshivat Noam; Katz; Teaneck Town Councilman and Co-Publisher of The Jewish Link Mark (Mendy) Schwartz; and Cheryl Krouse, deputy chief of staff for Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Rabbi Benjamin Yudin cut the ribbon, officially welcoming the Nachum Segal Network to Teaneck.
Teaneck’s deputy mayor is thrilled that Segal will continue to be a presence in Teaneck. “I come to West Englewood every morning to go to my office or have breakfast at Poppy’s and quite frankly, he’s such a joy to see, to start my day that way.” said Katz. “I wish my whole day had a Nachum Segal in it, but I can’t take him with me.”
What made Segal change his tune? “When I walk outside this building, I feel the energy and excitement of a vibrant, youthful Jewish community,” he said after he had been here for a few months. “I walk into places like Poppy’s and interact with people. I have a lot of very productive meetings here. There’s plenty of kosher food and parking. It’s a very welcoming environment. And we have lots of fans of all ages in this community.”
After Rabbi Yudin cut the ribbon in the studio, Segal took his laptop and walked across the street to Poppy’s for the 8 a.m.-9 a.m. portion of his show, while listeners heard music. That feat was made possible by new technology Segal had to purchase after the fire. His entire music collection is on one laptop. A crew in Israel keeps the network running seamlessly behind the scenes. Segal can produce his show from a number of places, depending on his schedule and programming plans.
At Poppy’s, blue and white balloons decorated tables filled with platters of bagels and spreads to create a warm, festive atmosphere. Jacob Geffner, owner of Poppy’s, said: “Nachum is a ray of sunshine every day. His booming voice and his smile are infectious to everyone. It’s a real pleasure for us to have him as part of our morning routine.”
Guests came to the “Poppy’s studio” for interviews, including Katz, Rabbi Yudin, Rabbi Hagler, Mendy Schwartz, Rabbi Yaakov Neuberger of Bergenfield’s Congregation Beth Abraham, Rabbi Binyamin Krohn, Cantor Netanel Hershtik of Young Israel of Teaneck and Jewish Link Publisher Moshe Kinderlehrer.
Rabbi Yudin has the longest association with “JM in the AM,” starting even before Segal took over the program. “Norman Laster called me and said, ‘Maybe just give me a dvar Torah once.’ That ‘once’ has been going on for approximately 46 years.
“It’s been a very special opportunity to work together with Nachum,” Rabbi Yudin continued. “He really has a love for the Jewish people; it’s not simply a job. He invests his character and personality into his position and he’s effective. To wake up in the morning to Jewish music is something of a high for so many. For Rabbi Goldwasser and myself, the opportunity to disseminate Torah is an incredible privilege which I am very personally thankful for and indebted. And now that he’s moved to Teaneck, it’s a zechus for the Teaneck community.”
Kinderlehrer and Segal reminisced about old times when Segal taught AP Jewish history and Kinderlehrer was his student, and talked about current projects. “You’ve been here for a while and I’m really happy that we’re now public about it,” said Kinderlehrer during his interview. Segal asked about the magazine Kinderlehrer was holding, which gave him a chance to talk about the Link’s comprehensive wine guide in last week’s issue and online. “It’s a really great review of what’s going on in the wine industry, and what people like most about it is that we have top 25s in all categories.” Segal gave him a mazel tov on the Link’s 10th anniversary celebration and said, “It’s great to be linked with you now that we’re in Teaneck.”
Friends and fans stopped by to chat and give Segal a mazel tov. Dr. Joe Rozehzadeh of West Orange has known the broadcaster for 30 years. He accompanied Segal on many of the trips he has made around the world to show support to Jewish communities, including Sderot during the Gaza war, France and Venice. Recently, he was a guest on Segal’s “JM in the AM” to talk about the Tehillim initiative he started after the Paley boys were murdered in Israel. “I am so happy for Nachum to have this going on,” he said. “Something negative became a positive. He’s doing amazing things in Teaneck, teaching so many. I want to give him a bracha that he should go from strength to strength and have all the success in the world, and help Klal Yisrael.”
Rabbi Benzion Scheinfeld, middle school Judaic studies teacher at Tenafly Chabad Academy, is a high school friend of Segal’s who has remained close. “We have shared so much in our lives and it’s special to come and see a new landmark in his life,” he said.
Ruth Bodner said her husband, Joey, went to high school with Segal and their families are very close. “We are very happy that he was able to rebuild. We love him and wish him all the best.”
Chanan Vogel, a lifelong Teaneck resident, came to show his enthusiasm for Segal. “He’s a Jewish superstar; it’s a huge upgrade and amazing zechus for Teaneck to have him and his new studio here in our town. I look forward to seeing him around here more, being more involved in his broadcasts and listening. It’s just a very exciting thing.”
Thomas Bodey Jr. works for Katz and came to both the studio and Poppy’s. He said in the year that Segal has been here, they have formed a very good relationship. “He’s a very spiritually connected person, as I am, and he’s a Yankees fan, as I am. I have a lot of love and respect for him. We look forward to a longstanding relationship.”
Segal hosts “JM in the AM” from 6- 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. The network has programming throughout the day. Listeners can access live and archived programs on www.NachumSegal.com or with the NSN app, a free download from the app stores.