(New York Jewish Week) — Amy Spitalnick, who rose to prominence battling neo-Nazis in court, is stepping down as executive director of the Jewish progressive group Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, one week before she was to have officially begun the job.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Spitalnick said that “while I share the values and mission with Bend the Arc, a long transition has led us to mutually agree that it’s best for us both not to move forward.”
“We wish each other only the best as we each continue to work toward our shared goals,” Spitalnick said. “This is the right decision for me and BTA.”
Spitalnick was supposed to have started the new job on Nov. 15.
She confirmed the announcement to the New York Jewish Week in a phone call, but declined to make any further comments.
Bend the Arc sent out an email on Wednesday written by co-chairs Ginna Green and Rabbi Sue Reinhold saying that the organization and Spitalnick “mutually agree to not move forward together.”
“We wish each other only the best as we each continue to work toward our shared goals,” the message said.
They also announced that Jamie Beran is Bend the Arc’s new CEO. Beran previously worked as the organization’s chief of staff, chief operating officer and interim CEO.
“Jamie is a truly exceptional leader ready to build a Bend the Arc that is rooted in a shared vision of liberation,” the email said. “It is clear to us that with Jamie’s leadership, we will collectively get Bend the Arc where we need to go.”
In her statement, Spitalnick said that she is “staying focused on the fight for our democracy” by continuing her work with the organization Human Rights First as senior advisor on extremism.
Spitalnik will also remain, through the end of the year, as executive director of Integrity First, the organization through which she and attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn won a $25 million lawsuit against the group that organized the deadly 2017 Charlottesville March. That organization is planning to wind down its operations.
Bend the Arc announced the hire of Spitalnick, a New Yorker, in August. She told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at the time that hers and the organization’s “core goals are exactly aligned.”
Bend the Arc was formed in 2012 with the merger of Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance. It represents Jewish progessives on issues like abortion rights, anti-extremism, immigration and LGBTQ issues. Last month it received a $50,000 investment from Together Rising — a women’s rights group founded by the self-help author Glennon Doyle — for its work fighting against antisemitism and for social change.
Its previous CEO, Stosh Cotler, stepped down this year after 10 years in the position.
Spitalnick was formerly a communications director for the New York State Senate and State Attorney General. In 2021 she was named to the New York Jewish Week’s list of “36 Under 36” Jews who are making a difference.