Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis. Prior to that she was 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. 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. Rori 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 is married to Russel Neiss, a Software Engineer for Sefaria, and they have two daughters and a son: Daria, Susanna, and Shmaya.
Alyssa is the Senior Engagement Associate for the JCRC in St. Louis. Among many projects she organizes, her largest annual programs are the Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service and the Jewish Coalition for New Americans Day Camp at the International Institute. In 2017, she became a trained liaison for the Faith and For the Sake of All initiative to help educate the St. Louis community on racial inequity in the city. Before her transition to the non-profit world, she began her career in 2007 working in Fortune 500 advertising and marketing, then co-founded a startup called SYNEK out of CiC's 4240 building.
She has been an active member in the St. Louis Jewish community from childhood and is glad to use her business and communications experience to organize the community. She graduated from Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications focus in Public Relations, and currently serves on the Board of Directors at her congregation. In her free time, she loves to hike with her pup, ski in the Rockies, practice meditation and yoga, spend time at the Living Insights Center, volunteer in community gardens, and travel to learn about this wonderfully diverse world.
Gavi Geller, a Kansas City native, comes to the St. Louis JCRC from Washington, D.C, where she worked for American Jewish Committee (AJC) managing a grant from the Ford Foundation. In this capacity, she implemented programs across the country to advance immigration reform and strengthen Latino-Jewish relations. She also served as AJC’s immigration policy analyst, identifying advocacy opportunities and representing the organization among various national coalitions. Previously, Gavi was a paralegal at the National Immigrant Justice Center, where she worked with detained and LGBTQ immigrants as part of Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. She is excited to return to the Midwest and work with the St. Louis JCRC to advance coalition building and joint advocacy in the region. Gavi holds an MA in Jewish Cultural Arts from the George Washington University. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting art galleries and museums, hiking, and cooking.
Steve has worked in the nonprofit sector his whole adult life. He has served as advocacy and community relations staff for many national and local nonprofit organizations in the fields of Jewish and interfaith relations, public health, reproductive rights, the environment, consumer rights, and campaign management.
Steve was born and raised in St. Louis, and has lived here all of his life except for his college years, when he received a BA in Urban Affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is married to Jeane Vogel, an artist and arts agency director, and has a son aged 24 and a daughter age 20. His outside interests include oldies music and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Fawn Chapel coordinates the Student to Student program and co-facilitates JAM: The Anna and Sidney Frager Jewish-Muslim Teen Dialogue Group. Previous positions included working as a program counselor for a Chicago-area community youth organization, an editor for a publishing company, a project coordinator of an interfaith environmental group. Fawn and her husband have three grown children who all happily participated in Student to Student as teens. When she meets people who grew up in St. Louis, instead of asking them the usual local question, "Where did you go to high school?" she asks them if they were Student to Student participants!
Marla Ullrich is the Office Administrator for the JCRC. Prior to joining the organization, Marla worked for over a decade in the marketing department of a large St. Louis law firm.
Marla will obtain her B.A. in Communications, with an emphasis in Corporate Communications, in May, 2018 from Lindenwood University.
During her spare time, Marla enjoys hiking, camping, and boating with her husband Bob, and her dog, Leland. Her family is very important, and she spends as much time as she can with her son, Corey, and her father, Fab. She also enjoys museums, biographies, and anything historical.