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 serves as the Program and Engagement Associate for JCRC. She graduated with honors from Washington University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Communications. She has been an active member in the St. Louis Jewish community from childhood and can’t wait to use her marketing and start-up experience to bring communities together. She loves to hike with her pup, ski in the Rockies, work out (yes, seriously), volunteer, and travel to learn about this wonderfully diverse world.
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.
Roxann has been with the JCRC since March of 2008. In her previous life she worked in mortgage lending in every department imaginable. In her spare time she advocates for animal rights, works with local rescue groups and shelters. She is into genealogy, reading, working for the rights of LGBTQ+, Ecology, human rights and music. She is married to her husband of 30 years, Don Martyn Holloway and have two daughters: Shanna and Amanda, two grandsons; Damian and Tucker, and three dogs, Tiger Lilly, Mickey, and Molly.
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!
Rebecca grew up in St. Louis City and the UCity Loop and participated in JCRC’s Student to Student program in the early aughts. Since her first presentation, she has continued to have “student to student moments,” which seem to follow her wherever she goes. In 2014 Rebecca received a Fulbright to work with Islamic theology students at the University of Sarajevo. With help from Fawn Chapel (Student to Student Program Director and JAM Co-Facilitator), she organized a live Skype conversation between JAM participants and students in Bosnia. Rebecca also founded The Sarajevo450 Project, which seeks to share positive stories about Jews and Muslims and hosted events in St. Louis in August 2016. She is excited to be working with JCRC on growing the Student to Student Alumni Network! (If you are an alum or parent of an alum reading this, open up your email right now and send Rebecca a note to tell her where you or your young person is in the world!)
Ashley A. Sturm is a young community development professional who came to JCRC in April 2017 after wanting to engage more with the Jewish community. Most recently, she has worked with the Laura X Social Movement Archives, organizing and distributing materials that document the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s. She received her Master's in Community Development and Planning from Clark University in 2013 and enjoys most working directly with individual and civic empowerment. When out of the office, Ashley spends her time planning to build a tiny house and reminisces about hitch-hiking in 4 continents (and counting).