by the Forward

Royi Shaffin

Congregation Or Atid | Henrico, Virginia | 41 years old

I can personally attest to Rabbi Shaffin’s ability to change lives, as he very literally changed mine. Nearly three years after I had begun my path toward conversion but had been unable to find someone who both inspired me and was willing to really welcome me into the Jewish community, Rabbi Royi took me in with open arms and affirmed that I could be as much a part of this community as anyone born into it. Through him I was able to finally finish my conversion, and my Jewish identity has become an integral part of my being. He is perfect in his role at a progressive Conservative shul in a Southern city, focusing on reaching out to young people in an area where figuring out how to live a spiritual Jewish life can be so difficult. He is also able to masterfully reach out to the greater non-Jewish community and help them feel comfortable and welcome at holiday services without compromising the fully Jewish nature of these services for his congregation. Rabbi Shaffin makes great efforts to both increase Jewish visibility in a city where this is certainly needed and empower his congregants to embrace and proudly champion their Jewish identity.

— Hali Johnson

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