When Rachel Met Jonathan: A Match Made at FC

By Joan Elovitz Kazan


Friendship Circle (FC) is all about making connections. Creating couples is not part of our mission, but ten years ago, a Friendship Circle “meet cute” (Google it) resulted in a wedding & a marriage that is still going strong.

It was love at first sight for Jonathan Frank, but that love was for a car. “I’ve always been a big car guy and Rachel had this red Cavalier,” Jonathan recalls. Rachel knew Jonathan from Friendship Circle events and she fully corroborates their conversation about the car. “He said, ‘I love that car.’ “He asked me for a ride and tried to ask me out by using my car,” Rachel recalls.

Prior to meeting Rachel, Jonathan got involved in Friendship Circle for a variety of reasons, “I wanted something that was a social activity so I could meet more people.” he says. Rachel was already dedicated to Friendship Circle when Jonathan arrived on the scene. “I was involved with FC in 2008 and 2009,” she says. “But then I got hired to work for Friendship Circle in 2010. Jonathan would come in and say, ‘do you have any jobs for me?’ I knew he had taken a liking to me,” she recalls.

Rachel and Jonathan are proud college graduates. “We both have college degrees,” Rachel says. “I have two college degrees. He has one,” she adds. “I have an Associate of Science Degree in Childcare and Development from Madison Area Technical College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communications from Cardinal Stritch University,” Rachel says.

“Mine is in retail management from MATC in Milwaukee,” Jonathan adds.

Over the course of the past thirteen years, Rachel worked her way up to Friendship Circle Adult program coordinator. Jonathan works at Walgreens in Brown Deer and handles deliveries for Friendship Circle Bakery.

Leah Stein, Friendship Circle’s Chief Operating Officer, appreciates the Frank’s commitment. “Rachel and Jonathan care so much about their friends and community. When I ask Rachel to help with a project or activity, she says, ‘yes’ right away. Her special friends are her first priority and she doesn’t let obstacles stand in her way,” Stein explains. “Rachel and Jonathan could use their disabilities as an excuse to justify why they can’t do things but instead they’re an inspiration to other people with special needs,” she adds. “Their attitude is you can do anything if you really want to. I’m so grateful for both of them,” Stein adds.

Like most young couples, the Franks balance demanding work schedules, family obligations and a shared hobby: the Special Olympics. “In fall I do bowling, in winter I do basketball, in spring I do track and field. In summer I do bocce, the Italian lawn bowling,” Jonathan says. Rachel does the same sports minus track and field. “Track and field is at the same time as Friendship Circle adult programming,” she explains. “I mostly do Special Olympics for exercise, but I love it,” Rachel adds.   

A highlight of the Frank’s Special Olympics experience came in 2018. “We were asked to support team Wisconsin at the national games at the University of Seattle in Washington. It was really cool,” Jonathan says.

Friendship Circle is a home away from home for Rachel and Jonathan and they feel tremendous love and support from their FC family but this couple’s biggest cheerleader is Rachel’s mother, Marcia Laskey. Laskey reflected on her early interactions with Jonathan. “I thought he was a nice, young man. Our family included him in our holidays because his parents lived in San Francisco,” Laskey explains.

“I don't know exactly how it happened, but their friendship developed into a relationship and she became the one. It went kind of fast because she called me and said, ‘I think he's gonna ask me to marry him,’” Laskey says.

Spoiler alert! Jonathan proposed, Rachel said “yes”, and Laskey was delighted to plan a wedding. “We had a fabulous wedding, it was so wonderful and warm. People talked to me about it years after and told me how beautiful it was,” Laskey says.

“Rachel and Jonathan come over every Friday for Shabbat dinner. They love each other so much. They’ve been married over ten years and they really are the right match,” Laskey says. “Jonathan is an extraordinarily nice man. He's so giving and caring. He's not only there for Rachel, he’s there for me with whatever I need,” she adds.

In Yiddish, the word “bashert” means destiny and refers to soulmates, which definitely describes the Franks. While Friendship Circle doesn’t plan to make a habit out of matchmaking, we’re delighted that a Friendship Circle connection resulted in Rachel and Jonathan living their very own happily ever after.