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Meet the Staff

Director of Operations Ruth Schachter

Ruth Schachter joined Bais Abraham Congregation in 2015 as Director of Operations. 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.

Programming & Engagement Coordinator Kalanit Chappell

Kalanit Chappell joined Bais Abraham Congregation in 2018 as Programming & Engagement Coordinator.  She is a former Bais Abe board member, has served as its Member Care Committee Chair, participated in the Programming Committee, and co-facilitates Cafe Iyun.  She currently sits on the boards of Nishmah: The St. Louis Jewish Women's Project and Ohr Atid, Light of the Future.  She has extensive experience in creating, developing, and implementing meaningful programs for Jewish not-for-profit organizations, creating content for social media marketing, and is still involved with the forensic engineering firm she created in 2009.  In her free time, Kalanit enjoys spending time with her children and friends, homeschooling, reading, camping, hiking, text studying, and having fun!

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.

Israeli Shlicha Ariel Milo

Bais Abraham is excited to welcome Ariel Milo, St. Louis’s new Israeli shlicha, to our Jewish community. Ariel will coordinate special programs at the shul to connect Israelis in St. Louis to the Bais Abe community and will also work with Tzofim - the Israeli Scouts -  and the JCC. Ariel is from Moshav Netaim Hashizaf. We look forward to having her as part of our community this year!

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.
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 Benjamin Greenfield, Immediate Past Rabbi, 2017-2019

Rabbi Ben Greenfield served two years as Interim Rabbi. He started working at Bais Abe in August 2017 after receiving smicha from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Greenfield helped guide the shul as its halachic and spiritual authority, as well as helped oversee programming and educational initiatives.

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.

Mon, September 16 2019 16 Elul 5779