...I’ll be able to fill out my ballot... and not have to bother with the hassle of a notary, or stand in line among the masked and unmasked on election day. It provides me a bit of comfort amid the coronavirus pandemic. That comfort comes as the result of months of lobbying and public awareness by groups like the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis...
Another election is just around the corner but the coronavirus has some looking for alternative ways to vote. Over the next week and a half, notaries will be volunteering at 11 different St. Louis City and St. Louis County libraries to help folks with absentee voting.
Recent state law expanded absentee and mail in voting options for this year, however some absentee and all mail-in ballots must be notarized. The JCRC, NCJWSTL, and other local organizations have partnered with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition to actively recruit notaries public and station them at public libraries around the region leading up to the August 4th ballot submission deadline.
It has now been over a week of protests, propelled by the unconscionable death of George Floyd but motivated by the deeply entrenched and systemic racism that permeates our society at every level. Our hearts break at the stories that underlie the suffering, at the history and the present experienced by our ancestors, family members, friends, neighbors and even ourselves personally.
We are eager to respond. We want to fix the brokenness.
As protests continue across the United States, we are witnessing at the forefront, a conversation about what the Jewish community relations field has long understood to exist under the surface: systemic racism underlies and permeates our societal structures.
To practice our faith, and live as Americans, we need to observe both the religious command to protect lives and the civic command to vote.
Religious belief has long impacted who Americans choose to support on Election Day, but if a growing group of Missouri Jewish leaders and other clergy have their way, religion may change how millions in the state cast their ballots this November — ideally in ways that limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
After Gov. Mike Parson says the issue is a partisan one, Jewish leaders across the spectrum of observance say that voting in person during a pandemic violates Torah law.
If you’re in Missouri, now you can claim a religious requirement to vote absentee. A letter organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council and signed by 32 rabbis, three cantors, and Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, the council’s executive director, says that during times of danger, “it is a deeply-held religious belief” to stay at home, even on Election Day.
The afternoon in Vienna, Va., marked the 25th time this school year that Jewish students walked into Washington-area classrooms, gymnasiums or auditoriums — during or after class — to spend an hour explaining their faith to non-Jewish peers. The visits take place through Student to Student, an adaptation of a decades-old Missouri program that the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington brought to the District last school year in a bid to combat a massive spike in anti-Semitic bullying.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis recently received a national award for its summer day camp for refugee children at the International Institute of St. Louis. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) recognized JCRC with its Program Excellence Award at JCPA’s recent national conference.
It is easy to stand on the outside and find fault. It is far more difficult to sit down at the table, roll up one’s sleeves, and work together for change. Organizations like the JCRC are grounded in a consensus decision-making process. Our policy and positions are determined by those who show up.
Started by a small group of Jewish and Muslim friends who came together informally to help relieve Christian volunteers on Christmas Eve, the Day of Service has grown to include more than 1,000 people of all faiths each year working on projects benefiting at least a dozen charities throughout the St. Louis area. It’s now one of the largest Christmas interfaith events in the country, co-chair Sophie Malik said.
Congregation B’nai Amoona, Interfaith Partnership and the Jewish Community Relations Council are partnering to hold “An Interfaith Torah For Today Series,” facilitated by Rabbi Neal Rose and held at B’nai Amoona.
"[Rori] Picker Neiss is the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She and two other members of the council traveled to the Arizona-Mexico border last week. They were accompanied by 22 other Jewish leaders and volunteers from across the nation on a trip organized by the Jewish Council of Public Affairs."
KMOV 4 News - “Whenever event like this take place in the world … whenever there's a person who wants to declare for a group of people there's no place for them in the world and they don't accept them in any way, there's so many of us that want to stand together with a louder voice and say 'that's not true,” said Rori Picker Neiss with the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Fox 2 News - “Hundreds of people came out today on a Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. to say to you that you are not alone we are with you and we love you,” said Rori Picker Neiss, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Anti-Semitism kills. Racism kills. Islamophobia kills. Homophobia kills. Bigotry kills.
Each of these forms of bias uproots lives, devastates families, and destroys dreams. They kill violently and they kill painfully. Most shockingly of all, they kill indiscriminately.
As a Jewish community, we fight anti-Semitism not only to protect ourselves, and not only to protect the very soul of our democratic society, but to protect the lives of every person who lives among us and alongside us, Jew and non-Jew.
About 1,500 people gathered in the gym of the Staenberg Family Center in Creve Coeur to denounce violent acts of hate on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at an interfaith vigil at the Jewish Community Center. The event followed Saturday's deadly shooting that killed 11 people at a Pennsylvania synagogue. Speakers from area Muslim, and Christian congregations joined Jewish leaders to liken the acts committed against Jews at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh to other recent attacks on groups singled out for their faith, race, ethnicity, country of origin or political ideology.
Rabbi Josh Bregman, vice president of development at the Missouri Torah Institute, an Orthodox boys high school in Chesterfield, said that he thought the vigil “was an incredible show of solidarity across political lines. There were people from different parties involved, different religions, different sects of the Jewish religion, and I think the solid message was to provide comfort for each other and the resource of a community.”
Ben Sales from JTA covers the Jewish Coalition for New Americans Day Camp at the International Institute.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis and other local faith groups organized a vigil on June 6, 2018, the 79-year-anniversary of when the M.S. St. Louis, a ship carrying refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, was forced to return to Europe after being turned away by the United States and Canada.
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, discusses the challenges of interreligious community building, as part of Council on Foreign Relations’ Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
"Gavriela Geller, the Jewish Community Relations Council's senior policy associate, said the young people's futures are being used as bargaining chips in legislative battles on immigration reform. She called for the preservation of immigration laws that make family reunification possible."
The Tablet Magazine writes about Student to Student and the program's implementation in cities across the U.S.
JCRC and IFCLA (Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America) joined forces to coordinate an Interfaith Press Conference to support the Dreamers.
St. Louis Post Dispatch article covering the Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service.
The McGraw Show: ktrs.com
News of President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sent waves throughout both the Jewish and Muslim communities in the St. Louis area.
Chesed Shel Emeth's re-dedication ceremony as covered by KSDK.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch covers the JCNA Day Camp being held at the International Institute for New American children.
Details on the Iftar Dinner as told by Sauce Magazine.
The local Jewish community is hosting an Iftar dinner for the Muslim community – as a sign of their friendship and growing solidarity.
On March 8th, over 200 people came to a Washington University panel discussion between Andrew Rehfeld, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and Tarek El-Messidi, founder of CelebrateMercy. The conversation focused on continuing alliances between the Muslim and Jewish communities in order to combat hate.
CelebrateMercy, founded by Tarek El-Messidi, raised money towards the damages at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery. He visited the cemetery on March 9th.
JCRC discusses the impact of the arrest made in connection with bomb threats towards the Jewish Community.
NPR reports on the cemetery clean up at Chesed Shel Emeth and JCRC's role.
Governor Eric Greitens and Vice President Mike Pence joined a community-wide clean up effort of Chesed shel Emeth cemetery, followed by an interfaith vigil organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis
The JCRC-organized community response to the vandalism at Chesed shel Emeth cemetery was featured on Fox2now. Click the link above to read more and view video coverage.
Coverage of the clean-up efforts in response to the vandalism at Chesed shel Emeth cemetery, including participation from Vice President Mike Pence and Governor Eric Greitens, and JCRC-organized interfaith vigil.
Join Arts & Faith St. Louis for a multimedia performance exploring the common heritatge of Abraham for Jewish Muslim & Christian faiths.
Presented by the Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations Sat. March 11 at 8PM & Sun March 12 at 2PM John Burroughs School.
In this Op-Ed our Executive Director, Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, discusses the importance of valuing the wide array of community views in discussing Israel, and announces our Israel Micro-Grant Program.
Fox2 News features our annual collaboration between the JCRC and The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
The collaboration between the JCRC and The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, was featured on the local NPR St. Louis on the Air
The Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri credits our partnership in their statement that garnered national attention.