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Director of Jewish Campus Life Named



Sep 11, 2017

9/20/17

Shoshanna Schechter-ShaffinShoshanna Schechter-Shaffin has been named Randolph-Macon College's Director of Jewish Campus Life.

Schechter-Shaffin, who was an adjunct professor in the R-MC Religious Studies and Women's Studies departments from 2012-2016, went on to teach humanities, gender studies, and religious studies at University of Texas El Paso before accepting this new position at Randolph-Macon.

In her role as director of Jewish Campus Life, Schechter-Shaffin will work with the Office of Student Life to organize campus activities that engage Jewish students and train staff to understand their needs. She will also continue to serve as faculty advisor for R-MC's chapter of Hillel, the largest international Jewish organization for campus life, which serves over 550 campuses worldwide.

Hillel
In her role as faculty advisor for Hillel, Schechter-Shaffin will not only work with the Office of Student Life to create Jewish cultural, religious, and educational programming, she will also have the opportunity to support individual Jewish-identifying students from diverse backgrounds as they navigate their adult Jewish journeys.

Randolph-Macon College's Hillel is specifically noted in the recent Jewish Daily Forward, one of the oldest and most widely read national Jewish newspapers in the U.S., as one of the most notable Hillels at a private college in Virginia.

Studies have shown that having a strong Hillel presence on campus greatly increases potential Jewish students' interest in choosing specific colleges and universities, and the South is quickly becoming one of the most popular regions, notes Schechter-Shaffin.

"Hillel's vision is to create a world where every student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and to Israel," she says. "My own Hillel experience as an undergraduate was highly influential in developing my personal Jewish identity and solidifying my commitment to leadership. I look forward to continuing to bring that to our students at R-MC."

Engaging the Community
One of the first of many activities that Schechter-Shaffin has planned is a celebration to honor the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which is celebrated in September.

"This will be a great way to engage the community," she says. "We are also going to be partnering with Hillel International to organize the first official Taglit-Birthright Israel from Randolph-Macon." Founded in 1998, Taglit-Birthright Israel offers free 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish-identifying adults.

Partnerships
Schechter-Shaffin is excited to get the word out about R-MC to young people in Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and beyond. In addition, R-MC's Jewish Campus Life office will partner with the local Richmond Jewish community.

Schechter-Shaffin, who in 2018 will co-lead a study-abroad January Term (J-term) trip to Israel and Palestine, is thrilled to be back in Ashland, where she and her husband Royi Shaffin, a rabbi, are raising their three daughters.

"Anyone who knows me knows how much I love R-MC," she says. "Who knew when I started out that this college would become the love of my life?"

Schechter-Shaffin earned her B.A. from the University of Maryland- College Park in Anthropology and Jewish Studies and her M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC in Jewish Women's and Gender Studies. She is currently an Ed.D. candidate at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

"It really shows the college's commitment to building a dynamic Jewish community," says Schechter-Shaffin of the creation of her new role. "R-MC offers many unique opportunities that simply can't be found at other colleges."