Rori Picker Neiss will join Bais Abraham Congregation as its Director of Programming, Education and Community Engagement. Neiss will work closely with Rabbi Hyim Shafner to oversee and guide lay committees, work with volunteers to expand Bais Abe’s outreach and engagement initiatives and develop and execute new Torah classes and religious enrichment opportunities. Neiss will also be available to meet with congregants for Jewish guidance and study as well as to help coordinate and implement holiday and lifecycle events and rituals.
Neiss joins Bais Abe with nearly a decade of nonprofit and Jewish communal experience. In addition to founding and running an independent minyan in her native Brooklyn, N.Y., Neiss served as the congregational intern at Beit Chaverim Synagogue of Westport/Norwark, Conn. and the Hillels at New York University and CUNY Hunter College. She regularly teaches Torah classes and meets with students and congregants to discuss lifestyle events, halacha (Jewish law) and pastoral issues. She received her bachelor’s degree in religious studies and political science from the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Hunter College and has studied at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and Seton Hall University.
Neiss will be working at Bais Abe as she studies remotely to complete her final year at Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to train Orthodox women as spiritual leaders and halachic authorities.
“Men and women have different strengths, different ways of seeing the world and of approaching life, thus women’s voices in Jewish communal leadership in the Orthodox community are vital,” said Shafner. “I am thrilled that Rori Picker Neiss will be joining me in leading the Bais Abraham community. She comes to us with an impressive history of Jewish communal and religious leadership, and as a soon to be Maharat her level of Jewish education in Jewish law and thought is wide and deep.”
Neiss will move to St. Louis in early August along with her husband, Russel, their two-year-old daughter Daria and a second child due in late May.