1998 • Community Service Award

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Two years ago, already in her late eighties, Phillis Frank immigrated to Canada - a feat that would daunt many people half her age.  She has adjusted to her new life with ease, bringing with her the love and caring that she shared with others in South Africa.

Although Phillis was orphaned at a young age and spent most of her education in boarding schools, she never felt that she was less fortunate than others and, in fact, actively sought out those to whom she could offer help. 

During the war years, she trained as a nursing sister and during the 2nd World War was awarded a meritorious service medal by the Red Cross for her devoted services in the field of nursing.  Phillis, together with her great friend Rose Feinstein, ran four nursery schools in Soweto wherethey catered to the needs of 300 underprivileged children. 

Now living in Toronto, Phillis spent most of her long life in South Africa where she was actively involved in the Jewish Women's Benevolent Society.  This organization covers different fields and caters to many needy people - the indigent, the sick, the handicapped, the lonely, the young and the old. They currently care for more than 800 families. All the women involved in this organization have helped in its growth but none more so than Phillis who has been associated with them for sixty years.


During this period she was chairman of the Kosher Wine depot - a department of the Society set up to provide the Jewish community with wine that they would be able to drink at their own celebrations.  Not only was Phillis instrumental in setting up the depot, she was often found using her own car, delivering wine all over Johannesburg.  Phillis has also delivered schoolbooks and clothes to those in need on behalf of the Society. 

She served on the Passover Shop committee, was an executive committee member, made an honorary life member, convened the Friendly Circle and was nominated as a representative to the Jewish Board of Deputies.  She has also served on the National Council of Women Representatives. 

She is a tireless worker who selflessly and conscientiously always strives for a better life for other people.  She is an inspiration to all who know and love her.  Her spirit of dedication and loyalty has been a characteristic which has made her a role model for many younger people. 

She involved herself in every facet of fund raising as well as being a decision maker on the organization's Executive Committee. 

Philllis is described by her colleagues in the Jewish Women's Benevolent Society as someone whose community spirit and generous thoughts and deeds are characterized by her own personality - bouncy and energetic.  Those who meet her face to face, are astounded to learn that she is an octogenarian and wish that they had half her energy and commitment.  She still bakes, entertains, swims, enjoys her family and actively seeks those with whom she can share her wisdom and experience. 

" Auntie Phil" as she is affectionately known is essentially a private person who gets on with the task of caring for her family and her friends, of sharing their joys and of lightening their burdens.  She retains a wonderful sense of humour and remains a humble person, often unaware of the impact she has on the lives of those who encounter her sunny nature.