When Chris Hughes, the millionaire co-founder of Facebook, bought The New Republic in 2012, there was a minor flap in the blogosphere over fears that the blond, Lutheran-raised Internet mogul would purge the venerable liberal magazine of its Jewish editorial staff. In fact, the opposite has been true, starting with the rehiring of Franklin Foer as editor.
Foer’s first stint as editor, from 2006 to 2010, began when he was just 31. Foer — whose brothers include novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and journalist Joshua Foer — had previously been a senior editor at the magazine and was also the author of a 2004 book titled “How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization.” Under his leadership, TNR was credited with regaining much of its former vitality, especially during the 2008 presidential election.
Since his return, Foer, now 39, has again helped reinvent the once-struggling magazine, which launched a redesigned website and print publication in January. But despite its spiffy new look, the magazine has also retained its longstanding concern with Jewish interests and ideas, including an influential cover story, “The Feminists of Zion,” and back-of-the-book essays on subjects like “the strange history of antisemitism in western culture” and “how FDR hurt would-be Jewish immigrants.”
In addition to his work at TNR, Foer has also added a new contribution to the conversation about Jews and sports with his book “Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame” co-edited with TNR staff writer Marc Tracy, which won a 2012 National Jewish Book Award.