Sherry Frank’s gracious and grateful memoir, “A Passion to Serve,” is the best introduction anyone could have to the important issues of the Atlanta Jewish community over the last half century.
Frank ran the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta from 1980 to 2006 and was at the National Council of Jewish Women before that. She was at the center of so many of the causes that moved the community.
She writes with authority and firsthand knowledge of the AJC’s work to found and establish the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, to create the genetic screening program that later became JScreen at Emory University, to establish the Black- Jewish Coalition of the AJC and to promote the interreligious and interracial work of the organization in this city.
“I want my grandkids to know I fought the good fight, that one of the strengths of the American Jewish Committee is to stay with the issue for the long haul,” she said when we spoke recently.
There are 18 chapters, in part, to link her story to the Hebrew word for life that has a numerical value of 18. Each one tackles a different subject that reflects Frank’s passion as a Jewish community leader and activist. They provide rich documentary source materials for those interested in how important community issues have arisen and how progress is made in a city that is as large and diverse as the one we live in.
Frank spent a year, with the expert help of Diana Silverman, poring over local and national archives, and another year tracking down individuals whose permission was necessary to include their writings in the book. The result is a work we can all gain so much from reading. Not only to give us a better understanding of Atlanta’s past, but of the progressive city Frank worked so hard to help create.
The book will be featured at noon Nov. 6 in conversation with Gail Evans, former executive vice president of CNN and a best-selling author. A reception will be sponsored by the AJT.