Named one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Daily Forward, Rabbi Michael Knopf, the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El, an historic and vibrant congregation in the heart of Richmond, VA, is dedicated to helping contemporary Jews meaningfully engage with their tradition, with each other, and with 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.
Passionate about building inclusive, supportive, and deeply intertwined communities, Rabbi Knopf has focused on helping Temple Beth-El become a community where spiritual, intellectual, and moral growth are taken seriously, where Jewish values of justice, righteousness, compassion, and peace are lived, and where Judaism is a tangible force for good in our lives and in our world. His leadership has enabled the enduring power and truths of the Jewish tradition to come alive for people of all backgrounds, ages, and stages.
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, Rabbi Knopf 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, a fellow of both Rabbis Without Borders and the Clergy Leadership Incubator, has been published in several anthologies of contemporary Jewish thought and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Haaretz, Times of Israel, The Jewish Daily Forward, Jewish Values Online, and other publications.
He is a member of the the international Rabbinical Assembly and the Richmond Rabbinical Association, a member of the Rabbinic Councils of Hand in Hand Schools in Israel and the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel, a Haver of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and an honorary member of the Board of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. Rabbi Knopf also proudly participates in several local interfaith roundtables and organizations that champion social justice and human rights.
Rabbi Knopf lives in Richmond with his wife, Adira, and two children, Lilah and Shemaya. 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). He’s a pop culture buff, a political junkie, and enjoys movies, traveling, and pizza.