Scholar-in-Residence Weekend: Antisemitism, Extremism, and American Democracy: Confronting the Challenges Ahead

February 2, 2024 - February 4, 2024, 12:00 am

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Antisemitism, Extremism, and American Democracy: Confronting the Challenges Ahead

With Amy Spitalnick, CEO, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

February 2-4, 2024

A Weekend of Finding the Strength to Face our Future Together

All lectures and discussions are free for WJC members, ECC families, and their guests. Topics are subject to change based on current events. 


Schedule & Lectures

Friday, February 2

6:00pm Rhythm & Ruach Service

7:00pm  Community-Wide Shabbat Dinner ($36/person; $78/family)

8:00pm Lecture/Discussion: How Antisemitism Fuels and Animates Anti-Democratic Extremism
Antisemitism does not only threaten the Jewish community – it jeopardizes the safety of countless other communities and our fundamental democratic norms and values. Amy Spitalnick will discuss the different ways antisemitism manifests and how it is inextricably linked with the broader fight for our democracy.

Saturday, February 3

9:15am Morning Services/Sermon: The Urgency of Coalition Building
At a moment of rising antisemitism, extremism, and other forms of hate, the role of the community relations field – and its work building bridges between diverse communities in pursuit of our shared safety – is critical. From the 1940s through the civil rights movement to today, that recognition is at the core of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Join its new CEO for a conversation on the urgency of building coalitions in a post-October 7 world.

1:00pm Kiddush Lunch & Discussion (no charge): The Charlottesville Case and Violent White Supremacy
In 2017, violent neo-Nazis attacked the community of Charlottesville – previewing the cycle of extremism that followed. Amy Spitalnick led the successful legal effort to hold these extremists to account, spearheading a civil lawsuit that resulted in a multi-million dollar verdict against the leaders of the white supremacist movement in America. Join her for a conversation on this landmark lawsuit and the broader fight against hate and extremism.

7:15pm Ambassador’s Reception (Ambassador’s Circle only): Jewish Leadership in 2024
Join Amy Spitalnick for an intimate conversation on the Jewish communal landscape, the challenges and opportunities for leadership at this key moment, and her plans for JCPA as it enters this new chapter.

8:00pm Lecture/Dessert Reception: Open to the Public Antisemitism, Democracy, and the Fight for an Inclusive America
Antisemitism isn’t simply a form of prejudice and bigotry targeting the Jewish community. It also serves as a dangerous conspiracy theory, jeopardizing the safety of countless other communities and our democracy. Join us for a conversation on how antisemitism fuels and is fueled by broader extremism—and how we can fight back—at this critical moment for our community and inclusive, multiracial democracy.

Sunday, February 4

10:00am Bagel & Lox Brunch (no charge)

10:15am Closing Lecture and Conversation: Social Media, The News, and Our Children
The last few years have made painfully clear the threats – and opportunities – posed by social media, an evolving news environment, and extremists who take advantage of both. Amy Spitalnick will guide us through the landscape, how we can empower our children and our families to recognize disinformation and hate, and the policies and solutions necessary to keep us all safe.


Please support the WJC Scholar-in-Residence Program

The Scholar-in-Residence Program is solely supported by donations. Your contribution is vital to Adult Education at WJC. Thank you for your generous support. Contribute Now
For additional information, please call WJC at 914-698-2960 or email:

Donation Levels (Per Family)

Ambassador’s Circle: $540 Includes all events plus reception with Amy; space limited
Benefactor: $360 Includes all events except reception
Patron: $180 Includes all events except reception & Shabbat dinner
Sponsor: $126
Donor: $72

About Amy Spitalnick

Amy Spitalnick is the CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the national convener of Jewish coalitions working across communities to build a just and inclusive American democracy.

She previously served as Executive Director of Integrity First for America, which won its groundbreaking lawsuit against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the Charlottesville violence. Under Amy’s leadership, IFA became a powerful national voice in the fight against white supremacy, antisemitism, and extremism—and its Charlottesville case has emerged as a model for accountability.

Amy also serves as a Senior Advisor on Extremism to Human Rights First, and on the Advisory Board of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University. She has extensive experience in government, politics, and advocacy, including as Communications Director and Senior Policy Advisor to the New York Attorney General and spokesperson and advisor to the New York City Mayor.

Amy has been named a Women in Power Fellow at the 92nd Street Y, a Truman National Security Project Fellow, a City & State 40 Under 40 Rising Star, and a NY Jewish Week 36 Under 36 Changemaker. She graduated from Tufts University.

Scholar-in-residence Committee (in formation)
Adult Education Committee Co-chairs: Susan Abravanel, Allan Abravanel
Larry Thaler, Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, Rabbi Cornelia Dalton, Cantor Ethan Goldberg, Rachel Aronow, Fred Bennett, Steven Koller,  Lauren Moskowitz Sholder, Julia Steinmetz

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