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Meet the Staff

Rabbi Garth Silberstein

Rabbi Garth Silberstein became the Rabbi at Bais Abraham Congregation in September 2019. Prior to that, he had served for three years as the rabbi of Kenesset Israel Torah Center in Sacramento, CA. He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in 2016, and has served as a rabbinic intern at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale-The Bayit, Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh in Portland, Maine, Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe in Boston, and Hazon. An out-door enthusiast with an interest in food and agriculture, Rabbi Silberstein led the Hazon Cross-USA Jewish environmental bike ride twice, and in 2014, founded Organic Yeshiva, an immersive Torah learning program that combines traditional Torah study with hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture. Rabbi Silberstein holds a BA in acting and biology from Bennington College, and has studied at the Pardes Institute for Jewish studies in Jerusalem. Prior to his rabbinic training, Rabbi Silberstein had worked as an actor, SAT tutor, waiter, and non-profit administrator. In his free time, he enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and board games.

Rabbi Silberstein is always available for pastoral guidance, and all life cycle events, such as assisting with b'nai mitzvah preparations and officiating at weddings and funerals. Please note that in accordance with Bais Abraham policy and accepted Modern Orthodox practice, Rabbi Silberstein will not perform a wedding unless there is a halachic pre-nuptial agreement in place. Such an agreement, which he will provide, has proven to be an effective tool to prevent future agunot (women whose husbands refuse to give a get - a Jewish divorce).

Get in touch with Rabbi Silberstein.

Executive Director Ruth Schachter-Cohen

Ruth Schachter-Cohen joined Bais Abraham Congregation in 2015 as Director of Operations, and became Executive Director in September 2020. She has extensive experience as a Jewish educator and non-profit professional. Previous positions include Executive Director at Next Dor St. Louis, Jewish Student Life Coordinator at the University of Illinois-Chicago Hillel, and Jewish Studies and History teacher in various settings. Ruth has an academic background in Jewish Studies, History, and Jewish education. In her free time, Ruth enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, cooking, and is an avid Indiana Hoosiers and St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Get in touch with Ruth.

Administrative Assistant Lori Goldman

Lori Goldman has worked at Bais Abe since 2017 and has been a longtime member of the synagogue. In her position, she processes Bais Abe donations and writes thank you notes and acknowledgements, procures items and oversees inventory, and helps coordinate and prepare food for Bais Abe events.  Before working at Bais Abe, Lori worked at Ernst & Young for 14 years. Lori enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, and traveling.

Get in touch with Lori.

Maharat Rori Picker Neiss

Religious Consultant 

Maharat Rori Picker Neiss is the Executive Director of the St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council and a member of the Bais Abraham community.   She is available, in addition to the rabbi, to Bais Abe women and men for questions of halachic advice and Jewish guidance.   She completed her studies at Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic (Jewish legal) authorities, and has studied at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Maharat Rori previously served as Director of Programming, Education and Community Engagement at Bais Abraham.

Get in touch with Maharat Rori.

See the 2013 article about Maharat Picker Neiss in the Jewish Light
Watch Maharat Rori Picker Neiss’ presentation at the Jewish Federation’s Celebrate Women Clergy event

Rabbi Hyim Shafner, Rabbi 2004-2017

Rabbi Shafner served as Bais Abraham's rabbi from 2004-2017. He has Smicha (rabbinical ordination), a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW), and an MA in Jewish philosophy, from Yeshiva University in New York City and a Certificate in Advanced Psychotherapy from the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. Before becoming Bais Abe's rabbi, Rabbi Shafner was the Campus Rabbi of the Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis for 8 years. Prior to this, he was the community Rabbi of Bombay, India, where he and his wife, Sara Winkelman, spent a year working with the Jews of India. They have three children, Benjamin, Yonah, and Hava.

View Rabbi Shafner’s profile by the Rabbinical Council of America

The Everything Jewish Wedding Book” – written by Rabbi Shafner 

Morethodoxy Articles

The Dream of Exile: A Rereading of Honi the Circle-Drawer, Kerem: Creative Explorations in Jewdasim


Don't Give Up the Shul: Reorienting Our Synagogues

Learning from the Bene Israel of India, Conversations: The Journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals


The Endangered Next Generation of Israeli-American Jews

Rabbi Abraham Magence zt”l

Rabbi Abraham Magence zt”l (1920-2003) was the Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation from 1975 until his death. He was legendary for his warmth, devotion to Yiddishkeit, and genuine love for all Jews regardless of affiliation.

Rabbi Magence was born in Poland, where his father and grandfather were rabbis. He studied with many of the luminaries of the pre-war yeshiva world of Eastern Europe. Rabbi Magence spent the war years as a fugitive from Nazi and Soviet persecution and most of his family was killed in the Holocaust. He came to St. Louis in 1950 and began a career as a mohel, teacher, and rabbi that touched literally thousands of lives.

Sat, November 27 2021 23 Kislev 5782