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JCRC Staff

About Us

Executive Director
(314) 442-3770

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 three wonderful children.

Deputy Director
(314) 442-3872

Cheryl Adelstein serves as the Deputy Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.  She has more than 30 years of community relations experience in the St. Louis region, including serving as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Relations and Local Government Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis and as the Executive Director of Central Reform Congregation.  In addition, she is the former board Chair of Cultural Leadership, and currently serves as the chair of the Cultural Leadership Advisory Council.  Cheryl’s role at the JCRC includes government relations, mobilizing the Jewish community to advocate on issues such as racial equity, immigration and criminal justice reform, and supporting Israel education efforts.

Cheryl received her B.A. from American University in International Studies and her Master of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cheryl is a native St. Louisan and resides in the Benton Park neighborhood of South St. Louis with her husband Daniel Davison.  They have two adult daughters. 

Director, Civic Engagement
(314) 442-3894

Alyssa is the Director of Civic Engagement 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, and is currently a New Israel Fund Global Activism Fellow and a Bend the Arc Jeremiah Fellow. 

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 previously served 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.

Director, Student to Student

Lauren Abraham is the new Director of the Student to Student program in St. Louis. Lauren looks forward to continuing the legacy of Fawn Chapel and helping this program remain a St. Louis staple for our Jewish community. Lauren sees the Jewish high school students that come together from all three branches of Judaism as the torch lighters to combat anti-semitism and share the Jewish narrative with students everywhere in order to improve so many aspects of our world today. 

Lauren is a life long Jewish educator with eight years of experience as a Day School leader in New York City at the Rodeph Sholom School, and most recently Lauren was the Education and Engagement Coordinator at the Jewish Federation of San Antonio for six years. During this time she grew the PJ Library program, the Partnership2gether program with the Western Galilee in Israel, and helped engage the Jewish community with new initiatives and energy and spirit. Lauren is originally from Dallas, Texas and earned her Master's at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. She was also a passionate camper and staff member at Camp Sabra on the Lake of the Ozarks for many summers!

Lauren moved to St. Louis with her husband, Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham (Associate Rabbi at Congregation Bnai Amoona), and their three children, Benny, Henry and Joey who are students at the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community Day School, and the Linda Rotskoff ECC at B'nai Amoona. They have all added the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals to their list of favorite sports teams, including Lauren's passions, the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns. 

Director, Jewish Fund for Human Needs
(314) 442-3873

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.

Office Manager
(314) 442-3871

Marla Ullrich is the Office Manager 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 has a B.A. in Communications, with an emphasis in Corporate Communications, 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.

  • The JCRC is a beneficiary organization of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis

    The JCRC is a beneficiary organization of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis