Small But Mighty

By Eva Trieger

Frances Lobman is proof positive that great things come in diminutive packaging. Hailing from Staten Island, Frances arrived on the La Jolla scene by way of New Jersey and Paris. One has only to meet this visionary and purposeful woman to see that she is passionate about giving back to her community and improving the world.

A consummate educator, Lobman has taught or supervised all grade levels including college. She has written curriculum, and served in the roles of educational administrator, supervisor, principal, director and superintendent! A lifelong lover of languages, Frances taught French, English and eventually ESL. As if this weren’t enough hats, Frances gave birth to two sons, Jeff and Jack.

Her first teaching job placed her in a special needs district, and the innovative and sensitive teacher responded by teaching reading from meaningful sources instead of insulting teens with See Spot Run.

Frances shared a cute story about her initial meeting with the representatives from Arad, Union County, New Jersey’s Federation’s “twin” city in Israel. As the reps entered her office she overheard them speaking in Hebrew, pondering if their car would be okay where they’d parked. Without hesitation, Lobman answered them in English, revealing her comprehension of Hebrew. Did I mention that this polyglot speaks not only French, but also some German, Spanish and Hebrew? (Her dream job was to become a simultaneous translator at the UN, but apparently, the Universe had other plans for her!)

The United Jewish Federation was delighted to latch onto this dynamo, and invited her to co-lead a diverse group of teachers for a trip to Germany, Poland and Israel to help implement a newly-created Holocaust Education curriculum.

But all of this was just a warm-up for the second act which began with retirement in 2001, when Frances moved into the “shtetl,” a stone’s throw from the University, JCC, grocery stores and a movie theater. She quickly found a home at Congregation Adat Yeshurun, and through the La Jolla Newcomers, met a number of people with whom she has remained good friends. Soon after, a burgeoning Yeshiva was seeking a secular headmaster. They turned to Lobman for recommendations, and she complied. SCY (Southern California Yeshiva) High now serves the communities of Adat Yeshurun and Beth Jacob. Lobman sat on the SCY High Board, and continues to mentor the students with whom she has formed lasting friendships.

The San Diego Jewish Film Festival benefitted from Lobman’s volunteerism as she aided with film selections and the attendant events and responsibilities. Always active and curious, Lobman has taken advantage of the cultural and recreational offerings of the JCC, including music appreciation and weekly Pilates classes.

This constant thrum of giving back is at the core of everything Frances Lobman does. She is a passionate and steadfast supporter of all things Israel and all things kid-oriented. To this end, she currently serves as a Board member for JNF where she is involved in two very exciting projects. The Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) is a pluralistic study-abroad program for high schoolers. Lobman’s real passion is the Gaza Envelope Task Force (GETF) which provides counseling, and much needed support to those battling PTSD in the Gaza Strip. With a limited budget the committee tackles issues faced by terror victims, including those in the Sha’ar HaNegev and Eshkol Regional Council areas as well as Sderot.

Do not be fooled by Frances Lobman’s quiet composure. Just below the surface there beats a heart bigger than Texas and filled with the desire to change the world. As the French would say, she is formidable; in YIiddish, Frances is pure mensch!

3 comments

  1. Florence Bialik

    A beautiful article about a woman who gives of herself when she is committed to a cause. I hope she will continue her attachment to Israel and the Jewish people for many years to come. She deserves to be lauded.

  2. Chaim Bialik

    In retirement, many live off old memories. In retirement, Frances relentlessly creates new memories. May Frances continue doing so from strength to strength.

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