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Thank you for attending this year's

Distinguished Speaker Series with Dr. Jane Goodall

Since its founding, Temple Sholom has been home to seekers and leaders who move us to question the status quo and act with moral courage. Join us as we continue this tradition through our Distinguished Speakers Series lectures — made possible by the generosity of Jan and Bruce Tranen. These Programs are Free and Open to the Public, but Registration is Required.

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An Interview with Jan & Bruce Tranen, Sponsors of the Distinguished Speaker Series

Previous Speakers


In case you missed it!



Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE


Sunday, March 13 - 3:00 PM

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and UN Messenger of Peace, is a world-renowned ethologist and activist inspiring greater understanding and action on behalf of the natural world.

Dr. Goodall is known for groundbreaking studies of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, which forever changed our understanding of our relationship to the rest of the animal kingdom. This transformative research continues today as the longest running wild chimpanzee study in the world. Jane’s work builds on scientific innovations, growing a lifetime of advocacy including trailblazing efforts through her international organization the Jane Goodall Institute which advances community-led conservation, animal welfare, science, and youth empowerment through JGI’s Roots & Shoots program.

Today, Jane continues to connect with worldwide audiences, despite the challenges of the pandemic, through ‘Virtual Jane’ including remote lectures, recordings, and her podcast, the “Jane Goodall Hopecast.” In 2021, Jane was the recipient of the Templeton Prize, and her newest book, “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times,” was published. 

Jane is a global icon spreading hope and turning it into meaningful positive impact to create a better world for people, other animals, and the planet we share.

Photo by the Jane Goodall Institute / Bill Wallauer 


Rabbi Conover: Jan and Bruce, you could have endowed a speaker series anywhere. Why was it important to you to make it happen at Temple Sholom? 
Jan:  One of my father Joseph Levy, Jr,’s z”l favorite childhood memories was of the day his mother Sarah Levy z"l took him to Temple Sholom to hear Eleanor Roosevelt speak. I don’t know the topic of Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech that day, or that of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech in more recent years, but I do know that Temple Sholom has long provided a forum for great thinkers and believers in social justice and reform. Bruce and I are grateful we can help to continue the conversation. 
Rabbi Conover:  That brings to mind a moment of profound appreciation. A few years ago, when the clergy of Temple Sholom fully prostrated during the Great Aleinu on Rosh Hashanah, I felt so connected to those who have spoken and prayed in our sanctuary. So many people invested their time, wisdom, and resources. Their commitment allowed me to have this particular spiritual moment. And, Jan, your family is so dear to me, and I feel grateful that I knew your Dad, and that I know your Mom. Yet, I appreciate how far back the connection between Temple Sholom and your family goes. We’re all still imprinted by those people who shaped your Dad, who then shaped you, and then as we look at the many drawings by your grandchildren behind you—there are still so many who will continue this legacy through your vision. 

Rabbi Conover: When we first discussed how you could make an impact through a gift to Temple Sholom which would impact our Social Justice initiatives, you said that it is essential for us to hear from the most esteemed thought-leaders, activists, and social commentators of our day so that we, as a congregation, can act courageously on the most important issues of our time.

Bruce, could you talk about courage? 
Bruce:  I think, as we have seen with COVID, gun violence, and rampant poverty, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. While we hope our politicians and leaders of large organizations will take on these issues, we also need inspiration and guidance to give us the courage to tackle them ourselves. We hope the Distinguished Speaker Series will address that need. Being inspired by someone to motivate people to get involved in the way they choose, will be a 
good thing.  

Rabbi Conover:  Will you tell the story of what courage means to you?

Bruce:  I've spent many years cycling around Chicago, the US and Europe. In the Alps, I’ve faced some very, very long, difficult climbs in very remote places and it was easy to feel discouraged and hard to keep going. In France, there's a lot of support for cyclists and when you are on a country road on a tough climb, sometimes someone on the side of the road, whether a young child or an older guy with an espresso, will look at you and say "Courage!" It makes you want to keep going, just keep pedaling, you'll get to the top.

Last year, when I was diagnosed with cancer, a cycling friend of mine sent me an email saying just that: "Courage!" Just keep going, do your treatments, and you'll get to the end of this. And so that word took on a deeper meaning for me; not just keep pedaling but keep going. Which led to this speaker series: a chance to look at big problems and keep going.

Rabbi Conover:  Jan, can you talk about why this topic—equitable access to healthcare—was the topic that felt most important to open the Distinguished Speaker Series?

Jan: The last year of Covid has magnified already existing healthcare inequalities. We are hoping that the experts we’ve invited to speak will be able teach us more about the impact of the virus and to suggest ways in which we can provide support to others.
Rabbi Conover: Yes. And I appreciate your emphasis. Our speakers will help us learn what we can do to make sure that equity in the healthcare system will become better than it was before Covid. Harkening back to Bruce’s comments on courage: May the speakers we host this spring—and in future years through your generosity—inspire us to courageous acts of tikkun olam, repairing our world. I’m in awe of you and your vision—and this world will be a better place because of how you have inspired our community of Temple Sholom. Thank you.  

Tue, February 7 2023 16 Sh'vat 5783