Spertus Prime speaker series kicks off in October

Starting this fall, Spertus Institute brings a series of dynamic, thought-provoking speakers to Chicago for programs that address Jewish themes and their impact on today's world. The program series, titled Spertus Prime, kicks off with news analyst and political commentator Cokie Roberts, who will discuss The Impact of the Jewish Vote: Election 2012. Roberts will appear Oct. 28 at 1 p.m., just 10 days before the presidential election.

Continuing the series, on Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. award-winning author Jonathan Safran Foer comes to Spertus to talk about Judaism, Writing, and Inspiration. Closing the series, on March 10 at 2 p.m., former Vice Prime Minister of Israel Tzipi Livni will present An Insider's View of Recent Developments in the Middle East.

The programs all take place at Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Avenue. Discount parking is available for $10 with Spertus validation at the Essex Inn, two blocks south of Spertus.

Tickets for each program are $75, $50, and $35. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available online at spertus.edu and by phone at (312) 322-1773. A private reception with the presenter follows each program. Admission to each of these receptions is $250 per person, with the price including one VIP ticket to the corresponding program. Proceeds support Spertus Institute's work fostering Jewish learning and leadership.

Each of the speakers in the Spertus Prime series is a leader rightfully known for groundbreaking achievements. Cokie Roberts is a senior news analyst for NPR and a political commentator for ABC News. She was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting, has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. Ms. Roberts and her husband, Steven V. Roberts, are contributing writers for USA Weekend. Together they wrote From This Day Forward, an account of their more than 40-year marriage. The book became a New York Times bestseller, following Ms. Roberts' bestselling We Are Our Mother's Daughters. She and her husband also co-wrote Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families.

Jonathan Safran Foer is an author of several bestselling books. His debut novel, Everything is Illuminated, was named "Book of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times. It and his second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, have both been made into feature-length films. Foer is the winner of numerous awards, including the Guardian First Book Prize, the National Jewish Book Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Prize. He's been named one of Rolling Stone's "People of the Year" and Esquire Magazine's "Best and Brightest." He is currently the Lillian Vernon Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University and working on a TV pilot for HBO starring Ben Stiller.

Tzipi Livni is the former Vice Prime Minister of Israel and former Chief Negotiator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. As the head of Kadima, Israel's centrist political party, she served as Israel's Opposition Leader from 2009 to 2011. During her tenure in Israeli politics, she also served as Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice. An attorney by profession, Mrs. Livni received her law degree from Bar-Ilan University. In 2011, Newsweek named her one of the "150 Women Who Shake the World."

The Spertus Prime speaker series is made possible with the support of the Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation and other generous donors.

Spertus is a partner in serving our community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

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