About Esther

Teaching about online engagement at Moving the Needle (RAVSAK educators’ conference, January 2014)

Esther D. Kustanowitz is a Los Angeles-based writer and consultant specializing in social media, pop culture, and Jewish community conversation. In August 2015, Esther became Editorial Director at GrokNation.com, a blog and web community founded by actress, neuroscientist and mom Mayim Bialik. Esther is also Contributing Writer at the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, where she writes on topics ranging from comedy to grief, from women in Jewish leadership to social media culture.

Esther is frequently sought-out as a source on social media engagement and culture, and is known as one of the Jewish nonprofit world’s social influencers. Most recently, she was named to JTA’s list of influencers on “Jewish Twitter.”

Esther has also consulted for dozens of organizations and institutions in New York, Los Angeles and Israel, including The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the ROI Community, IKAR, the American Jewish University, Yeshiva University, Slingshot, Limmud, UpStart Bay Area and the Jewish Federations of North America.  She writes for publications like Haaretz, the Forward, and eJewishPhilanthropy, blogs at MyUrbanKvetch.com, and advises individuals and nonprofit organizations on the culture and effective use of social media. Esther is also known for helping people to create and cultivate relationships and networks, particularly collaborations between innovative initiatives and community organizations.

She has authored one book, The Hidden Children of the Holocaust, and contributed to many others.​ She is working on a book about grief and life after loss called Nothing Helps (But This Might Help).

She served as founding senior editor for PresenTense Magazine from 2006-2008 and wrote “First Person Singular,” a biweekly singles column for the New York Jewish Week, from 2004-2008.

Esther has taken numerous classes in sketch-comedy writing and improv in New York and Los Angeles, and has also served as karaoke hostess/emcee for Jewish organizational talent shows and karaoke events.

[updated June 2016]

TV & RADIO APPEARANCES

To see some of my TV appearances, see this post.

In September 2004, she appeared on FOX-5’s GOOD DAY NEW YORK to talk about the meaning of Rosh Hashanah, and in March 2005, her cheekbones were featured in an on-camera makeover given by soap opera actress Catherine Hickland on LIFE&STYLE. At the Salute to Israel Parade in June 2005, the cameras of NYCTV’s PARADETOWN USA interviewed Esther about her Jewlicious t-shirt. (Clips available on request.)

Transcript of interview on Kol Yisrael news (2008).

An interview with Esther appears here.

Professional Experience

Esther’s nearly two decades of experience working with the Jewish community includes full-time stints at the Jewish Theological Seminary (2000-2002), as Director of Publications and editor of JTS Magazine, and at Hadassah, in two departments over six years (1994-2000).