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Leadership and Staff

Board of Directors

Esther Safran Foer, President

Esther Safran Foer founded FM Strategic Communications in 2002. For 10 years she was the CEO of Sixth & I, where she helped develop a nationally recognized model for young professional engagement within a historic synagogue and cultural center. She was named one of the Forward 50 Jewish leaders. In 2020 she published the post Holocaust memoir I Want You to Know We’re Still Here, which has been translated into 8 languages.

“The Board of Directors and I can’t wait to welcome the local community and visitors from around the world to Washington’s first Jewish museum.”


Alexandra Horowitz, Vice President
Eugene Sofer, Treasurer
Marlene Singer, Secretary
Sherry Bindeman Kahn, At Large
Albert H. Small, Jr., At Large
Chris Wolf, At Large
Stuart Zuckerman, Immediate Past President

Board Members

Nancy Alper
Andrew R. Ammerman
Gerald Bass
Nancy Robinson Breuer
Stacy Burdett
Dorothy Canter
Diane Lipton Dennis
Ricki Gerger
Melissa Hausfeld
Ernie Marcus
Howard Morse

Lawrence Neff
Jules Polonetsky
Lauren Racoosin
Lisa Reiner
Dee Sanae
Yolanda Savage-Narva
David Silver
Pat Silverman
Diane Wattenberg
Stuart Youngentob

Past Presidents

Robert Shosteck*
Hyman J. Cohen*
Bernard I. Nordlinger*
Hon. Milton S. Kronheim, Jr.*
Henry Brylawski*
William B. Wolf, Jr.*
C. Haskell Small*
Nathan I. Silberberg*
Bernard S. Glassman*
Donald Wolpe*
Dr. Jonathan Grossman*
Dr. Jonathan P. Siegel*
Robert I. Silverman*
Leonard Abel*

Dr. Michael L. Goldstein*
James GoldbergDavid Burka
Samuel Flax
Paula Goldman
Richard S. Alper
Frank Gilbert *
Dr. Peggy Pearlstein
Stuart Zuckerman
Sidney J. Silver
Samuel Brylawski
Russell Smith
Howard Morse

*Of blessed memory

Museum Staff

Ivy L. Barsky, Executive Director

Ivy brings 30 years of experience in museum leadership, and with major museum construction and exhibition projects. She served for eight years as CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and 15 years at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City (first as founding director of education, then as deputy director). She has an M.A. in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from New York University.

Ivy is an arts and culture hound, avid reader, and music fan. She always aims to make a dent in the universe.

Ivy Barsky, Executive Director

Jaclyn Bivens, Operations Coordinator

Originally from New Hampshire, Jaclyn has lived in D.C. since 2005 when she moved here to attend American University. Jaclyn’s first museum job, while obtaining a master’s degree in Museum Studies at The George Washington University, was with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

Jaclyn is passionate about the way museums can educate and inspire us to explore the world around us and can be a part of making a better world for everyone.

C. Andrew Coulomb, Chief Operating Officer

Andrew previously served as Director of Operations at The Valentine and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and as Deputy Director and Interim Executive Director at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Andrew puts his extensive experience to work for CJM, overseeing finance and administration, business operations, and building management.

A board member of the Virginia Association of Museums, he’s also a tremendous advocate for the role of museums in building and sustaining communities

Lisa Del Sesto, Education Manager for Programs

Lisa Del Sesto was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College, she moved to Washington D.C. in 2013 to earn a master’s degree in Jewish Cultural Arts from The George Washington University. She comes to CJM after 6 years at the Bender JCC of Greater Washington as the Director of Arts and Ideas.

Lisa spends most of her free time with her nose in a book only to be interrupted by her other great love of frequenting new restaurants around D.C.

Jonathan Edelman, Collections Curator

Jonathan Edelman was born and raised in Kansas City, moving to D.C. in 2016 to work with the curatorial team at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has a Masters in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and a Bachelors degree in Cultural Studies & Communications from Clark University.

Edelman also serves on the board of the Edlavitch DC JCC and is a member of Adas Israel Synagogue.

Michelle Gleaton, Events Coordinator

Michelle joins the Capital Jewish Museum with over fifteen years of experience in events in both the nonprofit and for-profit realms. She has had the opportunity to pursue her passion all over the world, from California to Israel. Most recently she lived in Germany while coordinating programming for the U.S. military stationed overseas.

She is excited to return to the home of Nationals baseball with her husband and two young daughters (and two cats).

Grace Handakas, Assistant to the Executive Director

Grace Handakas is a native of Richmond, Virginia, where she has experience at historic institutions such as the Virginia Museum of History and Culture and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. She holds a B.A. in history and media studies from the University of Virginia, and an M.A. in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.

When not at a museum, she can be found at a library, theatre, or gymnastics meet.

Lauren Hoffman, Curatorial Assistant

A Maryland native, Lauren has spent her life enjoying all the museums and cultural institutions that Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and the surrounding Mid Atlantic has to offer. She received her BA in English Literature and Theory from American University and studied Museum Studies at Drexel University.

When not wandering through museums, Lauren can be found hiking local trails with her dog, Maggie, rock climbing, or reading a book somewhere cozy.

Sarah Leavitt, Curator

Sarah, who hails from Wisconsin, moved to Silver Spring, Maryland in 2000. She holds an MA in Museum Studies and a PhD in American Studies from Brown University, and has worked in museums for over 30 years.

Sarah comes to CJM most immediately from 13 years at the National Building Museum in DC. Her publications include several books and articles; some of her favorites cover the history of the pregnancy test kit and the TV show Veronica Mars. She is also Event Review Co-Editor for American Quarterly, a member of Temple Shalom, and loves to run when her knee cooperates.

Raven Orlikoff, Membership Coordinator

Raven Orlikoff is a native of Norristown, Georgia. After completing a Bachelor’s in History at the University of Georgia, Raven relocated to Norfolk, Virginia, where she served as Assistant Director of the Hunter House Victorian Museum. Recently working in development and events at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia.

Raven can often be found exploring the many cultural institutions of Washington, DC as a lifelong admirer of art and architecture.

Bernard Powe, Facilities Manager

Originally from Laurel, Mississippi, Powe has more than 20 years of experience in facility management and has worked with both corporate and residential facilities.

Maura Scanlon, Communications Specialist

A Northern Virginia native, Maura has more than 15 years of museum communications experience, including two capital projects. Highlights of her career include being a docent at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, promoting the Jewish Museum in NYC, and supporting the opening of the expanded Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.

Hally Silberg, Education Coordinator

A New York native, Hally Silberg received her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Michigan. After her studies, she pursued teaching opportunities in both New York and Israel. She then relocated to D.C. to attend George Washington University, receiving her master’s degree in museum studies. She joins the CJM team after working for Dumbarton House, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

When not exploring museums or nature, Hally can be found reading, learning about history, or enjoying new foods in the District.