West Orange resident to be honored by synagogue

Harriet Perlmutter-Pilchik

SHORT HILLS, NJ — Harriet Perlmutter-Pilchik, a resident of West Orange, will be honored by Temple B’nai Jeshurun at a gala celebration commemorating the synagogue’s 170th anniversary on Thursday, May 10. The evening’s theme, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” pays tribute to the temple’s past presidents, the Interfaith Hospitality Network’s founding organizers and the synagogue’s Rabbi Barry H. Greene Early Childhood Center Parents’ Association founding chairpersons. Perlmutter-Pilchik is a former president of the congregation.

Born in Newark to parents who were members of the congregation when it was located in the city, Perlmutter-Pilchik graduated from the Newark Public Schools and from Rutgers University with a bachelor of science degree. She worked in her family’s business of infants and children’s wear, the Novelty Kiddie Shop on Lyons Avenue in Newark, until she married Milton Perlmutter and had children. He was very active in the Jewish community and became a president of the synagogue. When he died at the age of 50, he was president and chief executive officer of Supermarkets General Corporation, the parent company of Pathmark Supermarkets.

Always involved in TBJ, Perlmutter-Pilchik served as president of the congregation from 1978 to 1980. In 1981, she married Ely E. Pilchik, B’nai Jeshurun’s rabbi emeritus, who died in 2002.

Perlmutter-Pilchik continues to remain active with TBJ, and served on many of the temple’s committees. She was the first chairperson of the congregation’s nursery school, now the Barry H. Greene Early Childhood Center. She always has taken an active role in the schools attended by her children, including as chairwoman of the Parents Committee of the YM-YWHA Nursery School in Newark; trustee of The Pingry School and co-chairwoman of the Princeton University Parents Committee Annual Giving campaign. She also was a trustee of Rutgers University.

Perlmutter-Pilchik served for 26 years as a member of the board of directors of SUPERVALU, a leading grocery wholesale and Retail Company, located in Minneapolis. She also has been named trustee emerita of the Paper Mill Playhouse.

A tireless worker and dedicated volunteer in the Jewish community, she has been both treasurer and board member of the Jewish Community Foundation; cabinet member at the Metropolitan NJ Division of State of Israel Bonds; board member of the Women’s Division of Jewish Community Federation of Metropolitan New Jersey; member of the Board of Jewish Education Association; co-chairwoman of the Task Force on Conditions of Jewish Cemeteries in the City of Newark; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

In her free time, Perlmutter-Pilchik enjoys being with her family — which includes her nine grandchildren — reading, traveling, knitting, physical fitness, aerobic swimming, cooking classes, cooking and baking. Her cookies often are found at the temple’s Oneg Shabbats after Friday night services.

Founded in Newark, in 1848, Temple B’nai Jeshurun is the second oldest Reform Jewish congregation in New Jersey. For a number of years, the synagogue held its Friday night services and conducted its religious school in a building it owned on South Center Street and Montrose Avenue in South Orange. The congregation relocated to Short Hills in 1968. The upcoming gala in May will celebrate two historic occasions: the temple’s 50th year in its Short Hills location and the 170th anniversary of its founding.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the 170th celebration, visit www.tbj170.com.