During Shabbat, December 24, 2021, our beautiful ladybug and butterfly lovin’ Fanny “Francine” Gelernter, aka “Mrs. G”, of Squirrel Hill and formerly Monroeville, PA, was again reunited with the love of her life and husband, Simon (z”l) who preceded her in death in 1997, along with their son, David Bruce Gelernter (z”l) in 1959, and parents Israel Olitsky (z”l), Zena (z”l) and Leon Schack (z”l).
Survived by her children Maureen “Mimi” & Joel Waldman and Steve & Jacki Gelernter; grandchildren Sara & Brendon O’Connor, Dara Brown, Max Gelernter and Eli Gelernter, “bonus” grandchildren, Lindsay Kopecky, Jonathan Waldman and Margot Waldman, and extended family Natalie & “Sir” Richard Berger. The four-legged family members: Frankie 4 Paws, Yoffi, Maya, Bjorn, Tova and Shadow, were also a great source of joy for her.
She taught students of all ages for 45+ years at Hebrew Institute, Temple David, Temple Sinai, Parkway Jewish Center and Rodef Shalom. She was gifted and dedicated when assisting a student in the preparation of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Upon the sudden death of Simon, Fanny decided to keep his memory alive by continuing his practice of delivering presentations about her childhood Holocaust experience, including Kovno ghetto and Stutthof concentration camp, stating “I am the voice who speaks to you on behalf of all of the voices that have been silenced”. She had a Bat Mitzvah at age 79 and later that year, returned with Steve, Jacki, Max, and Eli to her hometown of Kovno, Lithuania, as well as to Palanga, Lithuania, the beach town at which she vacationed as a young bourgeois girl. She sought to also go to Stutthof, Poland, visiting the concentration camp, she didn’t think she would survive, let alone return to see the ladybugs and butterflies that gave her hope throughout her life.
Fanny considered every day a “birth day” and brought unique perspective to every situation in her life. She always said that her children (and later her grandchildren) were her “diamonds and furs”. Consistent with her belief that it is best to “give with a warm hand”, she delighted in taking the family on a trip to Israel in 2007.
In lieu of a funeral, we will have a celebration of Fanny’s life in the spring at a time, date and place to be determined. To be notified of this event and/or share any story or experience as we Celebrate Fanny G, please email email@example.com
Donations may be made in her memory to The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh online http://jfedpgh.org/donatehc or mailed to:
Attn: Holocaust Center, Chatham University
0 Woodland Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fanny’s kind, sweet wit, sass, humor and inspiration will be missed by all who met her. Do Svidaniya & Zei Gezunt!
Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc.
So sorry to hear of your loss. I worked together with Francine at Rodef Shalom for many years. My sincere condolences from Jerusalem.
So sorry to hear of your loss. Fond memories of your family on Cottonwood Drive. I pray that your memories of her sustain and strengthen you during this difficult time.
Steve=Iam the ghost of memories past-Ponderosa, Caroline,Ocean City being part ofmy family .The picture of the butterfly in your Mom.s front yard,Your Dad on the slopes,Then there was Francine who was an inspiration to all of us-speaking at my granddaughters Bat Mitzvah-sharing her past with me so courageous. She was a wonder woman and will be missed by all who werefortunate to know her.Sending love and condolonces.