CDN Jewish News

From the Canadian Jewish News - Sept 3, 2002

Yacoubov made her mark in the Jewish community


Staff Reporter

Fran Yacoubov was not a high-powered community leader, but her personal warmth and depth of community involvement were reflected in an unusually large attendance at her funeral.

Rabbi Lawrence Pinsker, who delivered a comprehensive eulogy, noted afterward that the crowd of 1,100 was more typical for the funeral of a dignitary.Yacoubov, the former national administrative director of Canadian Friends of Haifa University (CFHU) died Aug. 14 of a massive heart attack. She was 48.

For the past six years she served as administrator at the Toronto Heschel School, but Rabbi Pinsker, who was the school's first president, said in reality Yacoubov served as guidance counselor for students, parents and staff. She was known for taking out-of-towners under her wing and offering wisdom and comfort to people who confided in her.

"The children gave her such a great deal of satisfaction," her husband Haim told The CJN. "She used to talk with them like they were all her children." In addition to the couple's own three boys, there were always other kids at the Yacoubov house. "They were just happy here," he said.

"We are grieving terribly at Heschel," said school principal Gail Baker, who knew Yacoubov as a fellow hockey mom at Goulding Park Community Centre before the school opened. "She gave of her time to everything that she believed in [and] she always made a point of getting to know people.

"Yacoubov conveyed a sense "that life was a delight," said Rabbi Pinsker in his eulogy. "No challenge, no task, no situation seemed insurmountable; no moment was empty of reasons for optimism about the future."

A high point in her work at CFHU was being interviewed by Barbara Walters about her work organizing a fundraising dinner honouring television personality Monty Hall, the rabbi said.She also served as president of the board of Gan Yeladim Day Care Centre for 10 years and stayed on as a volunteer long after her children had finished attending, Shelley Wise told The CJN.

A native of Toronto, Fran Yasny graduated from Northview Heights Secondary School before leaving to live in Israel in 1973. It was there that she met her husband. They celebrated their 25th anniversary in July.

Yacoubov is survived by Haim, children Yoni, Jordie and Jesse, her mother Lilian Yasny and her sisters Adele Wootton, Karen McElroy and Lisa Comeau. A web memorial was in the process of being set up last week at www.lifetimes.ca.