Women of Valor


Marriage and New Directions

Ray Frank, 1861 - 1948

By the late 1890s, after almost a decade of almost constant lecturing, preaching, and writing, Frank was tired. Wanting a break from her hectic life, she left the United States in 1898 for an extended stay in Europe.

One night at dinner at her hotel in Munich, Frank and her traveling companion were discussing the Dreyfus Affair then taking place in France. As Frank wished aloud that she had more information about the events, a young man seated at their table volunteered that he had just arrived from Paris and had the latest news. They began a long conversation and quickly became friends.

Born in Odessa, Simon Litman had come to Germany to study economics. When he transferred to Zurich, Frank, too, moved to Switzerland, enrolling in classes at the Zurich Polytechnikum. Two years later, on August 14, 1901, Ray and Simon were married. After living briefly in Paris, where Simon worked as a translator, the Litmans returned to California in 1902, and Simon began teaching marketing and merchandising at the University of California at Berkeley.

Holding to her often-expressed belief that married women should not work outside the home, Ray did not return to her life as a preacher and lecturer. She accepted a few speaking engagements, but her career as "the Girl Rabbi of the Golden West" was over. Even the articles she wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle had become more prosaic; instead of the spiritual, religious, and artistic matters she had dealt with earlier, she now wrote about "The Stock Exchanges" and "A builder of houses in Berkeley." The Litmans considered adopting a child, perhaps a Russian orphan, but they never did. Ray occupied her time keeping house and helping Simon in his work. Later, Simon would pay his own tribute to Ray and her career by writing a memoir about her. Published in 1957 as Ray Frank Litman: A Memoir, this book is the source of much of the valuable information about Frank available today.

  1. Biographical information from Simon Litman, Ray Frank Litman: A Memoir (New York: American Jewish Historical Society, 1957).
  2. Information about the possible adoption of a child from letter from Nina Davis Salaman to Litman, January 14, 190[7?], Box 1, Letters from Nina Davis Salaman to R.F. Litman, Ray Frank Litman Collection, American Jewish Historical Society.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Ray Frank - Marriage and New Directions." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/frank/marriage-and-new-directions>.