After 8 years serving as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), Maharat Rori Picker Neiss will be leaving her position at the end of the year to assume the role of Senior Vice President for Community Relations at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). This transition marks a new and exciting chapter in Maharat Rori’s distinguished career in community relations and advocacy.
During her tenure at JCRC, Maharat Rori has demonstrated remarkable leadership, unwavering dedication, and an unrelenting commitment to advancing the Jewish community's interests. She has played a pivotal role in strengthening relationships, promoting social justice, and fostering dialogue within the broader St. Louis community. With her guidance, JCRC has outreached to new partner communities, significantly augmented its presence and impact in Jefferson City, supported the expansion of the Student to Student program across the country, and launched new and innovative Israel education programming.
Maharat Rori’s vision, passion, and tireless efforts have left an indelible mark on JCRC, and she will be greatly missed by the organization and the entire St. Louis community.
Joel Iskiwitch, board chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis says, "I joined the JCRC the same year Rori joined as executive director. In our almost 8 years together, she has made friends with many people representing diverse communities in the region. Folks know she will show up for them when they ask. They, in turn, come out in large numbers to support the Jewish community in our times of crisis. Much of community relations work is behind the scenes and doesn't receive publicity. But the one-on-one relationships Rori has built with government officials of both parties, leaders of various faith communities, and groups representing diverse populations make our region stronger and our Jewish community safer. We will miss her and her wise counsel. JCPA will be a stronger organization with Rori playing a key role in their service to JCRCs nationwide. So we're pleased we will continue to work with her in the future."
Her new role as Senior Vice President for Community Relations at JCPA will provide her with an expanded platform to make a broader impact. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is a national organization dedicated to advocating for policies and issues of critical importance to the Jewish community. Maharat Rori's extensive experience, combined with her dedication to building bridges and fostering understanding, makes her the ideal candidate for this new position.
“The work of community relations is more important now than ever before,” said Maharat Rori. “As we witness growing political divide within our community and increased hate against our community, it is ever more challenging but ever more necessary to build bridges and transcend difference. It has been an honor to serve as Executive Director and work alongside the incredible team at JCRC. I am excited to embark on this new journey with JCPA and look forward to continuing the important work of advocating for our community on a national scale and supporting JCRCs across our country—including here in St. Louis.”
Maharat Rori has been recognized locally and nationally for her work. While working at the JCRC she served as the Chair of the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, a member of the Board of Arts & Faith STL, a David Hartman Center Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, a Mandel Fellow for Executive Leadership, Rabbi in Residence at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, and a frequent teacher and lecturer at Greenville University, among her many roles.
Upon Maharat Rori’s departure, the JCRC will welcome back former Deputy Director Cheryl Adelstein, who has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director until a new Executive Director is in place.
JCRC works within the Jewish and broader communities in St. Louis to enhance cooperation with other religious, racial, ethnic and civic groups; foster a just, democratic and pluralistic society; and promote the security of Israel and Jews everywhere. Guided by Jewish values, the JCRC advocates, educates, collaborates and mobilizes action on issues important to the Jewish community.