Esther Safran Foer
Esther Safran Foer is the Director of Sixth & I, a new downtown cultural hub and historic synagogue. Under Esther’s leadership Sixth & I has created world class programming virtually every night, from book talks with world renowned authors like Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Tom Brokaw, and Annie Leibowitz — to conversations with legends from Wynton Marsalis to Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer. The range of programming also includes jazz and classic musical and Indie bands.
Reinvented as a Jewish institution after having been a church for 50 years, Sixth & I is like no other institution in the country – with all of the various Jewish denominations observing Jewish holidays under the same roof – from Orthodox, to Conservative, to nondenominational. Events are open to the public and attract a broad spectrum of Washingtonians and visitors.
Under Esther’s leadership, Sixth & I has been widely covered in the national media as “a new paradigm for Jewish life” and, for the past three years has been recognized nationally by the Bronfman Foundation in its annual survey as one of the most creative and innovative Jewish organizations in the country. Newsweek named it one of the top synagogues in the US. Esther was personally recognized as one of “The Forward 50” Jewish leaders in the country, a group which includes political figures, writers, Hollywood personalities and communal leaders.
Prior to being recruited to Sixth & I by its founders, Esther spent most of her professional life running her own public relations firm, representing Fortune 500 companies. She was involved in politics as a state press secretary and state director for a major presidential campaign and began her career at Congressional Quarterly.
She is the wife of Bert Foer, founder and president of the American Antitrust Institute, and the mother of three sons, New Republic editor Frank Foer, bestselling author Jonathan Safran Foer and US Memory Champion, freelance journalist and entrepreneur Joshua Foer.