Mishkan Torah’s iconic Frank Pearlman and Greenbelt, MD are as inseparable as Maurice Chevalier and Paris or Sherlock Holmes and London. The person simply can not be associated with any other place. Now, Frank and Greenbelt are celebrating special birthdays. Frank has turned 80, while Greenbelt, the relative youngster, is 75.
On Saturday, November 17, 2012, at 7 p.m., Mishkan Torah presents a gala birthday bash to celebrate both Frank’s 80th birthday and the 75th Anniversary of the place Frank and Mishkan Torah call home, Greenbelt, MD.
The evening will commence with a social hour reception, with wine and cheese, fancy desserts, and other snack foods. Saul Oresky will commence the formal program by leading Havdalah. There will then be a program honoring Frank and Greenbelt, with speakers from the Synagogue, Frank’s life, and the Greenbelt community.
Speakers and attendees are expected to include Greenbelt Mayor Judy Davis and Council Member Leta Mach. Sheila Maffay-Tuthill from the Greenbelt Museum will pay tribute to Greenbelt by discussing the Museum’s newly installed Greenbelt timeline exhibit, which was the subject of an article in the September 2012 Trumpet.
The program will include speakers who will reminisce about Frank as an active member of both the Greenbelt community and of Mishkan Torah. The Greenbelt speakers are expected to include Mayor Davis, Julia Frank from Greenbelt Assistance in Living, and Cathie Brannan, the President of the Greenbelt Golden Age Club of which Frank is a Board Member.
Frank’s legendary career at Mishkan Torah, which spans over half a century, will be the subject of presentations by Arlene Gottlieb, Angie Carmel, Chana Mason, and President Jackie Kling. Suffice to say, Frank will have the final say in his own speech.
The gala evening will feature performances by Mishkan Torah artists of some of the music from Broadway and Hollywood which Frank loves and knows so well. Performances will include Bret, Aaron, Sam and Elta Goldstein, and Darelynn Fung setting the pace for the evening by doing “You’re the Top!” from Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes;” Nadine Wobus singing “Just You Wait, ‘enery ‘iggins!” from “My Fair Lady” and “As Long as He Needs Me” from “Oliver!”; Yael Fishman setting the mood of the evening with “Memory” from “Cats”; and Ben Greenfield honoring Frank’s unforgettable performance as the Phantom of the Bimah by singing “The Music of the Night” from “The Phantom of the Opera.” The program is subject to changes and additions, and doubtlessly there will be a surprise or two along the way.
Frank and his late wife Alice of Blessed Memory have been pillars of the Synagogue for the decades and joined Mishkan Torah approximately 52 years ago. Frank and Alice finally moved to Greenbelt about forty years ago to the house at 12M Plateau Place, where Frank still lives today. As Frank succinctly puts it, “I would live nowhere else!”
Frank’s positions at Mishkan Torah over the years have included being Financial Secretary; Ways and Means Committee Chairman; Men’s Club President; and service on both the Religious and Ways and Means committees. He has done everything from running coffee klatches to zealously selling entertainment books.
For years, Frank’s creative midnight services have been a major highlight of every Shavuot Tikkun, including the most recent one last May 26. He continues to be intensively involved in Synagogue life through his ongoing committee service, and attending nearly every service or function at Mishkan Torah. In 2002, Frank and Alice were honored with Mishkan Torah’s second ever Keter Shem Tov Award for their lives of service.
Frank has been active in the Reconstructionist Movement as well, involved with the Chesapeake Area Reconstructionist Council. In 1991 he received the Judith and Ira Eisenstein Service Award from the Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot.
Frank’s stage career is a major part of his persona. For many years, Frank was featured in numerous stage performances and skits both at Mishkan Torah and at the Greenbelt Arts Center. Frank was an integral part of every Purim Spiel, roast, or other production done at Mishkan Torah. Frank not only performed in works by other artists, but wrote and produced his own Sermons in Drama. Frank remains a font of information and argument settler on all trivia and minutia regarding Broadway and Hollywood. Frank holds court every Sunday at noon at the New Deal Café, besting all comers at Trivial Pursuit.
You are invited to share this special tribute to Frank and to Greenbelt, his cherished community, on Nov. 17. Tickets for the entire evening are only $18 for adults and $10 for pre-teens if reserved on or before November 10. Thereafter and at the door, tickets will cost $20. You can order tickets and make donations directly at Mishkan Torah, 10 Ridge Road, Greenbelt, Maryland 20770. You may also make reservations online at www.mishkantorah.org.
Do not miss what promises to be a very special evening to honor the man who personifies and embodies Mishkan Torah and our Greenbelt community. We shall see you on Nov. 17!