Sandmel Lecture Series on April 13

Written by Stephanie Rodriguez. Media by Katie Wallace. [divide]

Image from Christina Smerick
Rori Picker Neiss
Image from Christina Smerick

Greenville College welcomes speaker Rori Picker Neiss, the Executive Director of the St. Louis Jewish Communications Relations Council, JCRC, for the annual Sandmel Lecture Series on April 13. Students, faculty and staff, including Greenville community members, have the opportunity to attend two lectures by Neiss on Wednesday. She will discuss the topic “Prayer: The Language of the Redeemed” during chapel time in the Whitlock Music Center and will also speak from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at a colloquium in the Snyder Hall of Science in room 104. The title for the colloquium is “Three Men Walk into a Tent: An Interactive, In-Depth Exploration of Genesis 18.”

Bishop Bill Black, the seventh Bishop for Cincinnati Diocese of the Episcopal Church, supported the Shapiro Chair of Jewish-Christian Studies at GC and asked that the lecture series be named after the deceased Professor Samuel Sandmel. The Sandmel Lecture Series occur every spring semester and began in 2003. According to the GC website, Sandmel’s contributions include tracing the “historic development of the understanding of Jesus by Christians and Jews to inform and help improve reciprocal understanding.” Professor of Philosophy at SIU- Carbondale and Reform Jewish Scholar, Dr. Anthony Steinbock, spoke about the issue of repentance in 2013 for the lecture series.

Image from Yeshivat Maharat Twitter
Image from Yeshivat Maharat Twitter

This year the female religious leader in Orthodox Judaism, Rori Picker Neiss will be the guest speaker for the Sandmel Lecture Series and will focus on Genesis 18. Neiss graduated from Yeshivat Maharat in Bronx, N.Y. In 2015, she joined the JCRC in St. Louis, which is a group who works to strengthen collaboration with other religious, racial, and ethnic groups to foster the protection of Jews. In an article by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, President of JCRC, Bob Millstone stated, “We are thrilled that Rori Picker Neiss has decided to join JCRC as our next Executive Director. Her passion for Judaism, community relations, social justice and inter-religious cooperation will help the JCRC expand its impact.”

Dr. Christina Smerick, chair of the Philosophy and Religion Department remarked, “Rori will be guiding us in a Torah study of Genesis 18, and will model for us how to read Scripture through a Jewish lens. This will not be your average colloquium lecture, but rather a discussion! It’s of tremendous value to everyone in our community to read Scripture alongside another faith tradition and to find points of similarity and difference. It can make Scripture ‘come alive’ in a new way.”
Make sure to attend chapel April 13 and stop by the colloquium in Snyder 104 at 3:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Dr. Smerick at 314.44.6814 or


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