Maharat Rori Picker Neiss

Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis

Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis. She is one of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic authorities. She previously served as clergy at Bais Abraham Congregation, 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's passion for Judaism, feminism, interfaith dialogue and social justice has led to speak, teach and learn internationally, including in Japan, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Vienna. 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 children. She is located in St. Louis

Previous speaking engagements:

Beware the False Prophet: A Talmudic Debate with Early Christianity (studies a censored Talmudic passage about Jesus and early Christians to explore the internal struggle of the Jews at the time)

 

Revelation and Elevation: Standing Together at Sinai (text study of a midrash about the nature of revelation and how the rabbis post temple destruction rebuilt Judaism around Torah study)

 

God at Auschwitz: An Overview of Post-Holocaust Theology

 

Confronting Christianity: Rabbinic Responses to the New Interfaith Reality

 

Challenges in Interreligious Community Building

 

Breaking Walls, Opening Doors: Paving the Way for Women’s Leadership in the Orthodox Jewish Community (centered on a text study but then expanding our about the changing nature or leadership in the Orthodox community today)

Publications:

Neiss, Rori Picker. “The Development and Ordination of the Maharat”. The Sacred Calling: Forty Years of Women in the Rabbinate. Ed. Rabbis Alysa Mendelson Graf and Rebecca Einstein Schorr. New York: CCAR Press, 2016.

 

Neiss, Rori Picker. “Holding the Keys”. Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Women on Why They Stay (I SPEAK FOR MYSELF). Ed. Gina Messina-Dysert , Jennifer Zobair and Amy Levin. Oregon: White Cloud Press, 2015.

 

Brill, Alan and Rori Picker Neiss. “Applying Theology of Other Religions to Judaism.” Jewish Theology and World Religions. Ed. Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn. United Kingdom: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2012.

 

Heckman, Rev. Bud and Rori Picker Neiss, eds. Interactive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community Building Handbook. Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2008.

Target audience:

The whole community, typically adults.

Sample teachings:

Text

Video

Speaking fee: $500-$2,000

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