The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is proud to present Maharat Rori Picker Neiss as a scholar-in-residence at Beth El Synagogue for Shabbat Vaera, Jan. 20-21.  

    Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of St Louis. Prior to that she served as the Director of Programming, Education and Community Engagement at Bais Abraham Congregation, a Modern Orthodox Jewish synagogue in University City, MO. She is one of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic (Jewish legal) authorities.

    In addition to being a Rabbinic Fellow of the David Hartman Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Maharat Picker Neiss is the co-chair of the North American Interfaith Youth Network of Religions for Peace, a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and co-editor of InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook.

    She previously served as Acting Executive Director for Religions for Peace-USA, Program Coordinator for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Assistant Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and Secretariat for the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, the formal Jewish representative in international, interreligious dialogue.

    At Kabbalat Shabbat services on Friday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m., Maharat Picker Neiss will offer insights drawing from the week’s Parshat Va’iera, and on Saturday morning, she will discuss the work of JCRCs across the country and the responsibilities, critical, and influential roles the Jewish community play in our communities at large. Saturday morning services on Jan. 21 begin at 10 a.m.

    Maharat Picker Niess has been on the front lines of racial justice and a leader on interfaith and race relations in her community. She has written extensively on her experiences during the unrest in Ferguson, MO, which is just a few miles from her home. On Saturday January 21 at 7 p.m., the community is invited to the Staenberg Omaha JCC for a conversation about racial justice and how our community may work to improve relations with our black neighbors.

    “We are very excited and extremely honored to host Maharat Picker Neiss here in Omaha,” said JCRC Executive Director, Sharon Brodkey. “I am most excited that she agreed to facilitate the JCRC board training and orientation following her presentations as scholar-in-residence. The experience and perspective she will be sharing with us as we build JFO’s JCRC will be invaluable as we move ahead in our advocacy and community relations endeavors.”

    Maharat Picker Neiss lives in St. Louis with her husband, Russel Neiss, a Software Engineer for Sefaria, and their three children.

    To RSVP, contact JCRC Executive Director Sharon Brodkey at  sbrodkey@jewishomaha. org.