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Rabbi Michael Rose Knopf

Named one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Forward, Rabbi Michael Knopf is dedicated to helping contemporary Jews meaningfully engage with their tradition, each other, and the world. He believes that the time-tested insights of the Jewish tradition are not only pertinent but vital in today’s world. He is committed to revealing Torah’s enduring relevance, interpreting and applying Jewish values in light of contemporary insights, bringing Judaism into active conversation and collaboration with other faith traditions, and harnessing the Jewish tradition as a force for a more just and peaceful society. 

Rabbi Knopf is passionate about building an inclusive, supportive, and deeply intertwined community where the enduring power and truths of the Jewish tradition come alive for people of all backgrounds, ages, and stages. With his spiritual guidance, Temple Beth-El has grown into Richmond’s premier space for spiritual, intellectual, and moral growth; for living out core Jewish values of justice, compassion, and peace; for inspiring both individual flourishing and world-repair. 

Among his signature initiatives at Temple Beth-El is The Havurah Project, a program that brings diverse groups of congregants and community members together for monthly Shabbat dinners in each other's homes. After the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, Rabbi Knopf was the first rabbi in central Virginia to officiate at a same-sex wedding, making Temple Beth-El the first synagogue in the region to host such a ceremony in its sanctuary. Rabbi Knopf's campaign for the inclusion of interfaith families has newly enabled people from non-Jewish backgrounds to participate fully in synagogue life. He is proud that, under his leadership, Temple Beth-El is listed as an inclusive congregation by both  Interfaith Family and Keshet.

Committed to a thriving, just, and inclusive Richmond region, Rabbi Knopf is recognized as a leader within and outside the Jewish community. Named one of Richmond’s “40 Under 40” in 2017, he was invited by Governor Ralph Northam to offer the benediction at his inauguration and to preside over the first-ever interfaith Passover Seder at Virginia’s Executive Mansion. In 2017, he launched Encounter RVA, a series of public conversations featuring local religious, civic, and thought leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, aimed at bridging divides, deepening understanding, fostering diverse relationships, and moving the Richmond region forward in these troubled and divisive times. 

He is a member of Leadership Metro Richmond, serves on the Boards of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Jewish Family Services of Richmond, and the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, and proudly leads and participates in several interfaith groups and movements for social justice and human rights. 

Rabbi Knopf is a Rabbi Samuel T. Lachs Fellow of Clal’s LEAP Fellowship, a partnership with University of Pennsylvania’s Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, bridging academic Jewish studies and practical rabbinics. He is also an American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellow and an alumnus of both Rabbis Without Borders and the Clergy Leadership Incubator. He is the co-editor of No Time for Neutrality: American Rabbinic Voices from an Era of Upheaval and the author of Thirty Days of Liberation: Pathways for Personal and Social Liberation Inspired by the Book of Exodus, has been published in several anthologies of contemporary Jewish thought, and is a regular contributor to Haaretz, Times of Israel, The ForwardJewish Values Online, and other regional, national, and international publications. He is a member of the international Rabbinical Assembly (serving on the Social Justice Commission), the Richmond Council of Congregational Rabbis, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; and serves on the Rabbinic Advisory Councils of Hand in Hand Schools in Israel and the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel. 

Rabbi Knopf previously served as Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA. Before his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011, he helped coordinate the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program, the nation’s largest preparatory program for conversion to Judaism, worked as a spiritual counselor at Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish addiction treatment facility, and served several congregations and educational institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

Rabbi Knopf lives in Richmond's Museum District with his wife, Adira, and three children. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, he holds degrees from Columbia University (History, Cum Laude), the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Talmud and Rabbinics, Magna Cum Laude), and the American Jewish University (Master of Arts in Rabbinic Studies, Rabbinic Ordination), where he received the Eliezer Slomovic Award in Talmud. He's a pop culture buff, a political junkie, and enjoys movies, traveling, and pizza.

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Rabbi Emeritus Gary Creditor

Rabbi Gary S. Creditor has been a Jewish leader for over 35 years, teaching all ages, envisioning and creating a community mikvah and participating on countless boards and communal agencies – Jewish, interfaith, and civic.

A member of the international Rabbinical Assembly of America, the Washington Board of Rabbis, and New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Creditor was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the world-wide center for Conservative Judaism.

In 2003, he received his Doctorate from Jewish Theological Seminary, recognizing more than 25 years of Rabbinic service. Rabbi Creditor also was tapped by Governor Kaine to participate in the memorial program for the students and faculty who died at Virginia Tech in 2007. He is a passionate and engaging Jewish leader, a teacher of great wisdom and warm pastoral friend to many.

After 21 years of service at Temple Beth-El, Rabbi Creditor retired in 2014. He continues to be a contributing member of this congregation as well as the greater community.

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Sat, April 20 2024 12 Nisan 5784