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American Jewish Committee brings in ex-AJCongress chief

NEW YORK (JTA) — Two weeks after the American Jewish Congress suspended its operations, the American Jewish Committee has hired its highest-ranking professional.

Marc Stern, the former co-executive director and general counsel for the AJCongress, is the AJC’s new associate general counsel for legal activity, the AJC announced Monday. Stern had been at the American Jewish Congress for 33 years.

The AJCongress, a longtime rival of the American Jewish Committee, officially went on hiatus in mid-July as a result of financial difficulties incurred over the past decade. The fiscal woes were exacerbated when the organization lost most of its assets in the Bernard Madoff scandal.

Rumors that the two organizations had been discussing a merger had been longstanding — and they were confirmed by officials at the now dormant AJCongress — but the Stern hire has nothing to do with any potential merger, according to an AJC spokesman.

“There are no merger talks,” the spokesman said. “That has nothing to do with this. Marc Stern will be joining us on Aug. 9."

Stern in his long tenure at the American Jewish Congress focused on church-state issues. In 2008 he became the acting co-director along with Matt Horn when executive director Neil Goldstein stepped down. Stern and Horn became co-directors when a search committee failed to find a successor to Goldstein.

American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris said he was "thrilled" that Stern was coming aboard.

“Marc brings unparalleled experience and expertise in international law of war, or lawfare, constitutional and other legal advocacy issues that are of paramount concern to the Jewish community,” Harris said.

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