Elaine Perilstein

Elaine Perilstein 9/17/47-2/11/98 Row 1:22 Family: Parents were Bella and Alexander Ostroff, her husband was Roger D. Perilstein, children were Deborah Harrison Sherwin, Jeffrey M. Harrison and Khalil B. Perilstein

Elaine was born in Philadelphia. She married in her early 20's to C. Richard Harrison and had Deborah and Jeffrey. She later was divorced, and married Roger Perilstein . Together, they had a son, Khalil Benjamin.

Her first career was as a nurse, but Elaine always valued education, and took every opportunity she had to learn more. She first returned for a bachelorŐs degree in nursing and then pursued a Masters of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill.. She worked as a Social Worker for the rest of her life, maintaining a private practice for many years. Elaine was empathic, straight forward and down to earth and her clients treasured their work with her. Elaine's clients' respect for her was typified by an honor she received while a counselor at Watts School of Nursing in Durham, NC. One of the nursing classes valued her help so much that they asked her to give the commencement address.

She was well known for her strong opinions, but she also knew when to hold back. A patient of hers once said in a letter: "I was always amazed at how Elaine resisted the urge to rule the universe." However, another friend, upon hearing that statement, remarked that he did not remember all that many times when she did resist the urge.

She was a fierce protector of her children and loved them deeply. If she thought they were being unfairly treated, she was immediately there to defend them. She also loved her home. She maintained a beautiful house and was a wonderful cook. The kitchen in particular was her sacred territory where she reigned supreme. When she became ill later in life, she most hated not being able to cook.

Tragically, she developed an incurable cancer at the age of 50. The course of illness was extremely difficult with many complications but she never lost her will to fight. When she passed away, her physical therapist cried, saying, "I always thought she would be the one to beat this." Her children, husband and parents all surrounded her when she passed away.

After her death a fund was established in her name at Beth El Synagogue to support programs on women's issues and spirituality in the home. But her greatest honor came later. On the tenth anniversary of Elaine's passing, Debbie, her daughter, gave birth to a baby girl named Elaine.