Rabbi Jan M. Brahms began serving Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands in 2004. Rabbi Brahms was formerly the rabbi of Temple Beth El in Madison, Wisconsin for 19 years. He also served congregations in Nashville, Tennessee and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and received his Rabbinic Ordination, Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters and Doctor of Divinity degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. He and his wife Ann Dee are parents of two adult children, Lisa and Steven, who both work and live in Brooklyn, New York.
Rabbi Brahms has been active in the general and Jewish communities where he has lived including The Woodlands. He currently serves on the Board of Interfaith and writes a regular newspaper column for The Villager. He has taught on college campuses, was a member of the Institutional Review Board of the University of Wisconsin Hospital, is past president of the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis and has served on the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Currently Rabbi Brahms serves as the national rabbinic chair of the Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring Institute and is a member of the National Commission on Rabbinic-Congregational Relationships.
Congregation Beth Shalom is a dream come true as a Jewish spiritual home. He loves the intimacy of the congregation where everyone knows one another and feels as if they are members of an extended family, sharing in celebrations and comforting in times of challenge. He also rejoices in the extensive volunteer involvement of the members of CBSW in all aspects of programming and activities from teaching in religious school to cleaning up the building; from planning functions to serving on committees that work for the enrichment of all.
Judaism is a religion based on deed. Faith comes through the performance of Mitzvoth. Rabbi Brahms rejoices in the extensive acts of righteousness and good deeds performed by the members of Congregation Beth Shalom. The magnificent harmony of the music at Shabbat services and the learning that takes place on both the adult and student levels adds the meaningful components that helps make CBSW an inspirational center of Jewish education, gathering and prayer.
Rabbi Brahms has an open door policy. His office is accessible for spiritual counseling and education or to discuss the most scenic bicycle rides around The Woodlands. He especially delights in students stopping in before and after religious school to say shalom, helping themselves to the bottomless candy jar.
Rabbi Brahms is frequently called upon by Jews and non-Jews for his knowledge of Judaism and religious texts. He shares his love and admiration for the history of Jewish faith and the richness it adds to life. He finds no greater pleasure than to see a sense of spirituality blossom in the soul of a one who seeks Jewish wisdom and understanding.