Joan Frankel Weil (b. 1945)

Joan Frankel Weil was born on March 30, 1945 in Evanston, Illinois to Idele Okman Frankel and Alex Frankel. She was raised in Muncie, Indiana, where the family moved when she was three years old. Joan’s father owned a men’s wear store there. The family joined the Reformed synagogue that was the only synagogue in the small city that had 60 Jewish families. Joan grew up in the National Federation of Temple Youth movement, and, when she went off to college at Indiana University, requested a Jewish roommate. 

Her roommate arranged a blind date for Joan in her first week of school with the man who would become her husband just two years later, David Weil. They married after Joan’s sophomore year of college and, a year later, had their first child, Jeff, so that David could have a deferment from being drafted for the Vietnam War. When they moved to St. Louis so that David could go to medical school, Joan went back to school after a hiatus of five years and got a degree in teaching. She taught elementary school in St. Louis for five years. They joined the Reform synagogue, Shir Emeth where they were active with the young adult congregation. During that time they had their second child, Brent.

They moved to Portland, Oregon in 1977 and immediately joined the Reform synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel. Finding that they wanted a more child-friendly congregation, Joan and David had begun to look elsewhere when they were invited to the first meeting of young couples that would become the founding members of Havurah Shalom. They quickly became a part of that community and made their friends in Portland. Their third child, Todd was born in Portland.