Rabbi Bryan Mann became the senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom of Brandon in August 2018 and is now leaving to continue his spiritual leadership and growth.
When Rabbi Mann arrived, he brought with him a youthful exuberance which was infectious throughout our congregational family. His love of Torah was quite evident and he quickly established himself. He eagerly engaged the congregants on interpretations of scripture and opened our eyes to new views and alternatives which would challenge us to learn.
Upon his arrival, he began working closely with the lay leadership at Congregation Beth Shalom to prepare for the High Holy Days in the Fall of 2018. He quickly adapted to the Religious School setting and provided special programming and led the students in morning services, sharing the meaning of each prayer chanted. Rabbi Bryan worked with students preparing for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, watching their transition from childhood into young adults. During religious school, he presented the concept of Tzedakah to students who prepared a thermometer for fund raising in preparation for the High Holidays.
Rabbi Bryan surprised many with his quick wit and humor, even stealing the show as a judge on our CBS Got Talent evening and singing along to Purim songs set to the music of rock bands and Broadway shows. He even honed his investigative skills during our Murder Mystery Dinners.
Well known in the Tampa community-at-large, Rabbi Mann was frequently requested to prepare thought provoking articles for the Jewish Press, attend and lead several events in the area, and to be a guest rabbi at several congregations.
Rabbi Bryan has developed informative and thought provoking programming for our confirmation students. Additionally, he has provided educational opportunities for adults. His Taste of Tanakh, 'Let's Chat', and other programs were well received.
He has united our community while we celebrated baby namings and our departed members, family and friends. He has reached out to those who need healing spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Most recently, Rabbi Bryan has been called on to lead us through a time never before experienced. The COVID-19 Pandemic required a lock-down of our community, and a new way of doing business. During this trying time, he has continued to reach out to congregants to offer solace, and has introduced the congregants to online services and study sessions. Despite the challenges presented by only online communication, he has continued to meet with and provide weekly classes to our Religious School students. We have remained united through this unusual time with the help of Rabbi Bryan.
We approached Rabbi Bryan to ask how we could thank him for leading our congregation through the last two years, and, in particular, the difficult times associated with the Pandemic. Rabbi responded that it has been his honor and joy to serve us and has asked that, in lieu of gifts, donations be made in his name to Congregation Beth Shalom.
We are asking our congregation family and the community to express their love and gratitude with a heartfelt donation. The first $1,800 will go toward a custom brick on the Tree of Life that will honor his time with our Congregation and be an everlasting tribute to Rabbi Bryan Mann.