Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy Special Interest Group (SA-SIG)
Rav Isaac Jacob (Yaacov) Frank
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Basil Frank of Jerusalem, artist grandson of Rav Frank, wrote in April 2004: Rav Isaac Jacob (Yaacov) Frank. Born Kovno, 1878. died Cape Town, 1965. Married Beila D. Rabinowitz in 1909. Bobba Beila bore 5 children, 2 died in the Spainish flu pandemic in Bakhmach 1917, Ukraine arriving in Cape Town with Solly, Issy and Nathan. Beila passed away in 1958. Rav Frank practised as mohel, schochat, chazan, Hebrew teacher at the Muizenberg cheder, ex-talmid Yeshiva Telsz, Lithuania, and authority in Cape Town. On arrival in Cape Town 1921 he landed a job inland in Port Nolloth with his wife's brother Louis Rabinowitz for a year as a shochat, and returned to Cape Town to join his family selling eggs in the streets in Simonstown 1922 were he conducted shul services in his rented house. My father recollects hiding his coins in the Aron Kodesh. Rev Frank was the Chazan of the Muizenberg Frank family Synagogue from its founding in 1933 to 1965.
My late father Solly stressed the fact the late Rabbi Abrahams consulted him on matters of halacha and officiated as a chazan at weddings in the Gardens Synagogue with Rabbi Abrahams.
Rev Frank was a folkhero in the Jewish Community of Cape Town A gymnast, he jogged every morning to the Muizenberg beach, sometimes with his umbrella in the rain, daily sporting his striped dressing gown. The old infirm Yiddisher Litvak folks on the balcony clapped. In the summer months I ran behind him! He would stand on his head and do his Yoga exercises. My zaida inhaled methane gas to declare himself medically unfit for conscription-prizve to the Russian army and arrived in Cape Town coughing blood .We believe the Muizenberg air and exercise cured his lungs. In the fifties he managed to buy a row of houses in Cromer road Muizenberg and rented to holiday makers.
In his later years when aged 75-88 he had diabetes and refused insulin as it was then non-kosher being extracted from pigs. My zaida made speeches in Cape Town at various simchas in Yiddish which seemed to take hours.
Throughout my childhood I witnessed the kashering of poultry in his backyard with a cruel fascination. It was indeed an almost 'surrealist' performance! Throats cut at the jugular and headless chickens wandering around, and then being turned upside down to drain the blood! Sometimes clients would come 5-10 minutes before shabbat, although fuming he still performed the ritual. Rav Frank stressed regarding his 'shoors' from Telsz that it was more important to visit the sick (bikkur cholim) than to observe the sabbath.