The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center’s Summer Institute returns Thursday, July 6 with its first speaker of the season, Maryland's Democratic Congressman, Jamie Raskin.

This summer’s programming at the Hebrew Center, back in person for the first time since the pandemic, includes six speakers on consecutive Thursdays, concluding on August 10 with Lawrence Bacow, outgoing president of Harvard University.

Between Mr. Raskin and Mr. Bacow, four other leaders in politics, science, religion and the arts will take part in the lecture series.

“There’s something about each of the speakers’ expertise that is remarkably current,” said Keith Heller, chair of the Summer Institute’s volunteer committee. “We tend to invite speakers who address timely issues.”

Foreign policy expert Susan Eisenhower takes the podium on July 13. Mr. Heller said that Ms. Eisenhower’s talk will likely be about the war in Ukraine, including recent developments.

Journalist Beth Macy addresses America’s opioid crisis on July 20, focusing on the prevalence of fentanyl today. And during the last week of July, Rabbi David Saperstein, who served as United States ambassador at large for international religious freedom under President Obama, presents Battles over Religious Freedom: Abortion, LGBTQ Rights, and Public Prayer.

Deborah Borda, president and chief executive officer of the New York Philharmonic, discusses her leadership of the orchestra on August 3. Mr. Bacow closes out the series on August 10.

In his first year as chair, Mr. Heller said he selected the summer lineup from a network of individuals with personal connections to members of the volunteer committee. With speakers who are not necessarily Jewish or speaking on religious topics, the Hebrew Center uses the institute as an opportunity to sponsor intellectual discourse on the Island.

“Each year we try to bring in outside speakers to provide a different voice to the Island,” Mr. Heller said. “It is an excellent opportunity to hear a talk from someone we wouldn’t ordinarily get to hear from and to hear a diverse group of speakers speaking on diverse topics.”

Each talk will include time for a Q&A.

In addition to the speaker series, the Summer Institute features a film series, with movies by Jewish filmmakers or featuring topics related to Judaism or the Jewish experience. The films stream every Sunday.

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