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Stefanie Perlstein Obituary

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Stefanie Perlstein

Vineland, NJ

July 1, 2015

Stefanie Perlstein Obituary

Stefanie Perlstein nee Freimark, 94, passed away peacefully on July 1, 2015 in her daughter's home. She was born, July 17, 1920 in Würzburg, Bavaria. From a very young age she exhibited tenacity and a strong will that served her well for her entire life. In 1938, Stefanie's parents sent her and her brother, Jerry, to America because the Nazi regime made it impossible for Jews to find employment. Stefanie and her brother arrived by ship in New York harbor on October 30, 1938, just ten days before "Kristallnacht". They were placed with relatives in Philadelphia and encouraged to work and save money to bring their parents over to America. She used her passion for fashion (which remained evident for her entire life) to find work in clothing factories. The Jewish Employment Service tested her, and after finding that she was good in math, found her employment as a bookkeeper. During this time, she decided to go to business school where she could attend day or evening as work permitted. By the time her parents signed up for visas to come to America, the quotas had been filled so they were sent to a Judenhaus, and then to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp on the border of what is now the Czech Republic. Her father was a disabled WWI veteran and she believed that it was solely because of his service to his country that they were two of few survivors and were reunited with their children on May 24, 1946 on her father's 63rd birthday. By the time she met her husband, Frederick J. Perlstein, in 1947, she had been promoted to Office Manager. Her husband had saved $800 and was able to make a down payment on the abandoned Baron Dettirsh Farm in Deerfield, NJ, which her son still farms today. After marriage, she and Frederick moved to Deerfield, where they raised their three children, Sandra Leah Perlstein, Jules Perlstein, and Ruth Cole. When she registered Leah for Hebrew school at Beth Abraham in 1955, she was informed that they were looking for a teacher. She mentioned that she had received an excellent Jewish education in Germany and was hired for the position. From the money she received for teaching, she sent herself to Gratz College in Philadelphia, traveling by bus and subway from Deerfield once a week until she received her diploma in Hebrew studies. In 1966, Cumberland County College opened and in 1971, she received her Associates degree with high honors and was listed as a distinguished graduate. From 1971-1973, she attended Glassboro State College (Rowan University) receiving degrees in Psychology and Sociology, again with high honors. From 1973-1975 she attended Temple University in Philadelphia and received her Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW). She immediately got a job with the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) where she advanced to social work supervisor, retiring at the age of 74. She continued tutoring at Cumberland County College for over 15 years after her retirement, helping many men and women achieve their Associates degrees. She inspired a love of knowledge in all of her grandchildren and afforded them the opportunity to study anywhere they chose. She also taught Hebrew to all five of them. She was a member of Beth Israel synagogue in Vineland. She was fluent in German, English and Hebrew. She was a world traveler, a teacher, an avid reader, a consummate scholar, a student of life and a family historian until the end. She was predeceased by her husband Frederick Perlstein and her son-in-law Robin Cole. She is survived by her brother, Jerry Freimark (Marge), Daughters Ruth Cole and Leah Perlstein, a son Jules Perlstein (Betsy), five grandchildren, Freedom Cole (Raya), Jacob Cole (Mihn Thu), Ben Cole (Joanna), Abby O'Brien (Ken), and Janice Maxwell (James), and five great grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 AM on Thursday July 2, 2015 in the Pancoast Funeral Home, 676 S. Main Rd., Vineland, NJ. Burial will follow in the Beth Abraham Cemetery, Rosenhayn, NJ. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to Cumberland County College, or the charity of your choice.

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