Ben G. Frank

Ben G. Frank passed away on September 21, 2023 at the age of 89. His legacy lives on through his travel writing, novels, and beloved family.  

Traveling (and bragging about visiting over 90 countries) was one of Ben’s great loves. In his yet-to-be published memoir, he reflected on his first travel experience: “I knew I would never stop traveling. I traded in the Greyhound Bus Lines for Flying Tigers Airline to Europe and the Middle East. From then on, I would say, ‘I travel the world.’”

His favorite travel companion was his wife Riva (née Spitz) Frank z”l. Ben and Riva shared a special love for their 53 years of marriage (and their 1965 ketubbah is now in the Museum’s Collection).  

Riva and Ben at the Taj Mahal 

Ben grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – proudly right near the Heinz Factory cultivating a life-long need to put ketchup on absolutely everything. He worked as a paper boy during World War II, paying close attention to the American war effort. Ben graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University, where he studied Political Science and Middle East Studies. 

After many years working in public relations, Ben combined his love for writing, traveling, and studying Jewish history in the later years of his career. He wrote several travel books including A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe, A Travel Guide to Jewish Caribbean and Latin America, A Travel Guide to Jewish Russia and Ukraine, and The Scattered Tribe. He published three novels: Klara’s Journey, Klara’s War (which was loosely based off of his wife Riva’s experiences during World War II), and Klara’s Brother and the Woman He Loved

ben and riva frank ca. 1990s
Ben and Riva, ca. 1990s

He continued writing up until the day he died: for his local Florida community’s magazine, The Jerusalem Post, and more. He was working on a travel memoir with the working title Travels With Benny. One of his most transformative travel experiences he wrote about was spending a year in Israel with the Labor Zionist group Habonim in 1952. 

Ben is survived by his brother Ivan, children Martin and Monte, and grandchildren Randall, Rebecca, Sarah, and Julia. May his memory be a blessing. 

The frank family stands by a gallery wall at the Museum
Ben G. Frank with his sons Monte and Martin and granddaughter Rebecca at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2022 proudly standing next to Riva’s family’s photograph on view