In the fall of 1890, Frank was visiting Spokane, Washington when she was invited to deliver a sermon on the eve of Rosh Hashanah (the celebration of the Jewish New Year). The impassioned sermon she delivered after the service made a deep impression on the audience made up of townspeople- Christians as well as Jews. As the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit in the United States, inaugurating a career as "the Girl Rabbi of the Golden West" that would help to blaze new paths for women in Judaism. Despite the fact that Frank claimed to have no interest in becoming a rabbi, her actions forced American Jewry to consider the possibility of the ordination of women seriously for the first time.
As a result, Frank spent much of the 1890s traveling up and down the West coast giving lectures to B'nai B'rith lodges, literary societies, and synagogue women's groups, speaking in both Reform and Orthodox synagogues, giving sermons, officiating at services, and even reading Scripture. Although headlines began to refer to Frank, incorrectly, as the first woman rabbi, and she was reportedly offered several pulpits, Frank insisted that she had never had any desire for ordination.
The newness of the Jewish communities in the West likely contributed significantly to Frank's ability to do what she did. Had more established Jewish institutions and a well-entrenched Jewish leadership existed on the West Coast, Frank might never have been given the opportunity to preach. By occupying the pulpit temporarily, Frank opened the door, however slightly, for Jewish women's long journey towards public religious leadership.