Rabbi Jonathan M. Brown

Rabbi Jonathan Mark Brown, 80, of Winchester, Virginia, died June 15, 2020. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in New Haven and received rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. In Winchester, he was the Rabbi of Congregation Beth El from 2004-2010 and taught as an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University.
Previously, he had led pulpits in London, San Antonio, TX, Chicago, IL, Harrisburg, PA, Long Beach, CA, Youngstown, OH, and State College, PA, with Temple Israel of Long Beach as the place he served the longest. His most recent work was as a chaplain at Woodholme Assisted Living in Pikesville, MD.
He was active in many causes over the years, including Soviet Jewry, integration, healthcare reform, interfaith relations and prison chaplaincy. He participated in Rotary and Torch Clubs locally, and nationally in the groups for Retired Reform Rabbis and Jewish Chaplains. He taught at universities at each place he lived and in 2005 published a biography of his uncle, biblical archeologist and former President of HUC-JIR, Nelson Glueck.
He rooted for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and traveled to visit many ballparks and countries. He could always be found reading non-fiction books at least 500 pages long. He enjoyed Scrabble and tennis, and was proud to be talented musically, with “perfect pitch” inspiring many sing-a-longs at family gatherings as he played piano, guitar or harmonica. He enjoyed camping at Yosemite and traveling to Israel. He was also on staff for a number of summers at Camps Swig and Komaroff in California and Camp Harlam in PA.
He often advised family to be grateful for and to take advantage of every day. He also emphasized that there were no such things as coincidences; those events were simply when you could more easily see “G-d winks” paving your path.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Saragrace (Bennett), one son, Andy of Stephens City, VA; three daughters, Laura Naide (Eric) of Alexandria, VA, Debbie Marcus (Alex) of Basking Ridge, NJ, and Sharon of Stephens City, VA; a sister, Susie Cook (Julian) of Denver, CO; and five grandchildren. Private graveside services were held June 17, 2020 at Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge, NJ.
Memorial contributions may be made to Jewish National Fund (JNF) or the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati.