Phyllis Silver Gelles
Phyllis M. (Silver) Gelles passed away peacefully on December 20, 2017. Taught well by her parents of blessed memory, Louis and Martha Silver, Phyllis' philanthropic work made her a pillar of the Hartford community for over 60 years. Often called a woman of valor for her commitment to Jewish causes, Phyllis was a founder of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., sitting on the Campaign Cabinet for the National Committee of the Museum. She was the recipient of the distinguished Israel Peace Medal awarded by Israel Bonds. She and her husband Gerald of 65 years, received the Rose Ball award for their devotion to service to the mentally retarded. She was also the National Women's Leadership chair for the Women's Division for the State of Israel Bonds and was fortunate to become one of eighteen women honored for her devotion to Israel at the 3000 Year Anniversarry Celebration of Jerusalem by the organization. She is a Life Director of the Hartford Jewish Federation where she served as Women's Chairman from, 1975-1977. Solomon Schechter Day School of West Hartford was also dear to her heart. She was a founding leader of the school and was honored to receive an award from them for her service. She was Chair of the Friends of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. Phyllis also sat on the boards of many Jewish organizations including Hadassah, Mount Sinai Women's Auxiliary, Israel Bonds and B'nai Brith Women of Greater Hartford. B'nai Brith Women presented Phyllis with the Humanitarian Award for outstanding service to the community and the State of Israel. Jewish Women International honored Phyllis as well for twenty years of service. Phyllis' efforts to keep the world enlightened about Jewish History found her working with Father Patrick Desbois to bring attention to his book The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to uncover the Truth. Both Gerald and Phyllis were honored for founding The Phyllis and Gerald Gelles Youth Vocational Training Center for Disadvantaged Children, in Pardis Hana, Israel. Phyllis inspired all who knew her to give back to the community and make Philanthophy a priority in one's life. She was always sought for her advice in the community and will be remembered for having been an inspiration especially to her children whom she taught the lessons of tzedakah by word and deed. to me Phyllis is survived by her husband Gerald, her children David and Robin Gelles, Steven and Caron Gelles, Stuart Gelles, Richard Gelles and Tiffany Adams. Grandchildren Alisha and Ronald Cipriano, Stefanie and David Ochs, Matthew and Tracy Gelles, Joshua and Rona Gelles, Rachel and Jonah Raskas, Dana Gelles, Noah Gelles and Grant Gelles. Her great grandchildren Jordan, Ella and Olivia Cipriano, Aria Gelles and Sheri Raskas.

Funeral will take place at Beth El Temple West Hartford at 9 a.m. Friday December 20 with interment at Beth El Cemetary, Avon Ct. . Memorial period will be observed at the home of Robin and David Gelles, 65 Pheasant Chase, West Hartford, Ct.; Friday after interment until 2 p.m., Saturday evening from 5 p.m.-8 p.m and Sunday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Donations in memory of Phyllis can be made to Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, attention to Sheri Pliskin 26 Buena Vista Road West Hartford, Ct. 06117, The Holocaust Memorial Museum 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, Washington D.C. 20024-2126, and Beth El Temple 2626 Albany Ave West Hartford Ct. 06117. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford, Ct. For further information, directions and to sign the guest book for Phyllis Gelles please visit online at

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