Rabbi Todd Thalblum
Rabbi Todd and his family moved to Cedar Rapids in 2009 to become our rabbi.
Having grown up in Kansas City, Rabbi Todd was happy to return to the Midwest after 10 years as a rabbi in Houston. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado and received his ordination from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, in 1999. In addition to his work for the congregation, he is also the current president of both the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County and the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis.
His wife, Sabrina, is a nurse, and their children, Noah and Gabriella, are both in college. When not working, he enjoys movies, sci-fi, concerts, and golf.
To read Rabbi Todd’s monthly column, click on the link in the sidebar.
Brian D. Cohen
President of Congregation
Born in Albany, New York, Brian grew up and lived In Clayton, Missouri and then Elmont, New York. He moved to Champaign, IL and finished high school. He then attended Southern Illinois University and received a BS degree in Radio & Television. His first job in 1977 was as Chief Photographer for the news department at KCRG-TV. He fell in love with Cedar Rapids and while at KCRG-TV he met his wife Terri (and fell in love with her, too) and was married in 1982. His daughter Tessa L. Cohen was born in 1996, had her bat mitzvah at Temple Judah and her mom and dad are very proud of what she is doing in life. From KCRG-TV, Brian was hired at Videa, Ltd. in 1980, where he worked for 41 ½ years before retiring in 2022. Since then, he has been driving school bus (which has always been on his bucket list) for the Cedar Rapids Community School District and driving part time for Windstar, a charter bus company.
Brian first started attending services at Temple Judah during High Holy days in 1980 and became a member shortly thereafter. He served on the TJ board in the past and was House Chairman for 4 years.
Being involved in the community has always been important to Brian, and he has served on a variety of boards locally. He served on the Big Brothers and Big Sisters board and is a 40-year member of The Cedar Rapids Optimist Club. At the club he served on the board, was secretary, and an Honor Club President. He also served as a Lieutenant Governor for the Iowa District of Optimist International. He is currently President of Eben Israel Cemetery and the East Central Iowa Soccer Officials Association.
When Brian has free time, he enjoys refereeing soccer. He has been officiating since 1981 and is certified to officiate all levels of the game (club level, high school, collegiate and the Major Indoor Soccer League). He is a Big 10, Big 12, and Missouri Valley official. As a high school official he was inducted in 2006 into the Iowa High School Hall of Fame and was named the National Federation Iowa High School official of the year for both the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (1999) and the Iowa High School Athletic Association (2001). He has officiated at numerous Girls and Boys state tournaments. He is also a National Instructor and Regional Assessor for the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association.
The Cohens have been married for 41 years and Terri is a fantastic gardener. Brian grows fruit trees and tries to plant trees each year. They have one kosher dog named Hobbit who rules the roost.
To read the President’s column, click on the link in the sidebar.
Carolyn, originally from St. Louis, moved to Cedar Rapids in 1993 after living in the Washington, DC area and Columbus, Ohio. Carolyn’s son, Daniel, who is now grown and on his own, grew up in Cedar Rapids and was active at Temple Judah.
After serving as Temple Judah’s Co-Administrator of Religious School for 13 years, Carolyn became Temple Judah’s Secretary/Administrator in 2007.
In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys reading, improving her knitting skills and baking for friends and family.
You can contact Carolyn during her office hours, from 12:30 to 5:30 pm at 319-362-1261 or by using the contact form below.