Muizenberg, South Africa


                                                                                         From: Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy Special Interest Group (SA-SIG)



With thanks to Basil Frank                                   click on arrow

Basil Frank of Jerusalem, artist grandson of Rav Frank, wrote in April 2004: Rav Isaac Jacob (Yaacov) Frank born Shidlova, Kovno district, 1878. Reverend Frank married Beila Dveira Rabinowitz in 1907. Bobba Beila bore 5 children, Saul and Taibele died in the Spanish flu pandemic in Bakhmach Ukraine in 1917, survived a progrom in Konotop, Ukraine 1918 and returned to Shidlova, Lithuania in 1920 where his father Rav Bertsig and Taube Frank lived, a letter arrived from an uncle Krieger (Rabinowitz family) inviting the family to Cape Town with sufficient money for the journey. The Frank family immigrated to Cape Town in 1921 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 Reverend Frank 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 in 1922 where he conducted shul services in his rented house. My father recollects hiding his coins in the Aron Kodesh. Rev Isaac Jacob Frank was the Chazan of the Muizenberg Synagogue from its founding in 1933 to his death in 1965.
My late father Solly stressed the fact the late Rabbi Abrahams consulted him on matters of halacha. He 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. These 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 'shiurs' from Telsz that it was more important to visit the sick (bikkur cholim) than to observe the sabbath.


Wedding of Berchik or Bertsig (Reb Dov Ber) Frank & Taube (Kaplan) Frank of Siluva (Yid: Shidlower), Kovno Gurbernia, Lithuania.

Parents of Rev Isaac Jacob Frank. Photo - prior to 1878.

Rev Frank was the eldest son, born 1878 Kovno.

Rev Frank and Bobba Beila Dveira Rabinowitz, born 1883.

Basil Colin Frank, aged 5 and his late sister Rochelle, 7 1/2 years old.

Photo  c1949/50 in front of their house in Camps Bay. 

L to R:  Solly Frank, accountant, mid twenties, wife Beila Dveira Rabinowitz. Issy Frank accountant, Rev Frank in a double breasted suit and another brother Nathan Frank, accountant. Photo: c1940, in front of their house in Arthurs Rd, Muizenberg.

The Franks arrived in South Africa in 1921



Rav Isaac Jacob (Yaacov) Frank

Brit milah, knoves, grindstones and Rev Frank’s shofar he blew on the High Holidays in the Muizenberg Shul.

Family photograph taken in Krakenova, Lithuania 1913; Saul Frank from the left aged 5 in my grandmother’s Beila’s arms, my father Solly Frank 3 years on the right sitting on my zaida’s lap Rav Yitschak Frank.

Rav Bertsig Frank (Reb Dov Ber) and wife Taube Kaplan Frank in 1920 in front of their house in Shidleve (Siluva), Kovno Gurbernia, Lithuania.