Rabbi Foster spent his entire 40-year rabbinate at Temple Emanuel in Denver until he retired in 2010. He is now rabbi emeritus for the congregation and also works as the Jewish chaplain for The Denver Hospice. He brought to his rabbinate a deep commitment to social justice, Jewish education, and Jewish continuity. He founded the Temple Emanuel Preschool and Kindergarten, the Denver Jewish Day School (formerly called Theodore Herzl Jewish Day School and Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy), and Stepping Stones to a Jewish Me – a program for interfaith families.
Rabbi Foster is also known for being a civil rights leader who always stands up for what’s right, not necessarily what is politically correct or popular. In 1965, while he was a senior in college, he and other Jewish students from the University of Wisconsin marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
This experience shaped his entire life and he became an outspoken advocate for civil rights. Rabbi Foster served on the Colorado State Commission on same-sex relationships, was co-chair of the “No on 2” campaign in 1992 (to prevent passage of the Colorado amendment that limited the rights of the gay and lesbian community), and was a member of the Colorado State Civil Rights Commission for 12 years and its chair for four years.
Rabbi Foster also was a leader in the interfaith community, bringing clergy of different faiths together to address social justice issues, including race relations, gun violence and the death penalty.
He served as president of the Denver Rabbinical Council and president of the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis. He also was co-chair of the national Commission on Outreach for the Reform Movement (a joint effort of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis) for 12 years.
Rabbi Foster also served on the board of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America and as chair from 2009-2011.
His other service on boards and commissions included: the National Council of Justice and Peace (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews), United Way and the Allied Jewish Federation.
Rabbi Foster was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion graduate school in Cincinnati.
He has been recognized by numerous organizations. Among his awards:
- Faith and Freedom Award, the Colorado Coalition for Abortion Rights, 1987
- Brotherhood-Sisterhood Award, National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1990
- Humanitarian Award, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, 1991
- Carle Whitehead Memorial Award, American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, 1991
- Anti-Defamation League Annual Civil Rights Award, 1993
- Advocacy Award, National Associations of Human Rights Workers, 1998
- United Way of Colorado Leadership Council, 2001-2002
- Spirit of CAJE Award, Colorado Agency for Jewish Education, 2002
- Jewish Outreach Institution, Outreach Hall of Fame, 2004 Inaugural Induction
- Torch of Liberty Award, ADL Passing the Torch for family public service, 2007
- Nashama Yeteirah Award, Herzl and Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy at Denver campus schools, 2009
- MLK Presidents Award, The Greater Denver Metropolitan Ministerial Alliance, 2010
- Civil Courage, Denver District Attorney, 2010
- Jack Shapiro Community Service Award, Jewish Family Service, 2013
- ALLY Award, One Colorado Education Fund (supporting rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Coloradans), 2014