Ellen Phillips

Ellen Phillips helped shape generations of Jewish children as a founder of the Hebrew Sunday School Society, the first to offer lessons on Jewish religion and culture in English to both boys and girls. Phillips, who came from a wealthy and influential Jewish family, joined Rebecca Gratz, Louis B. Hart, and Sim’ha Peixotto in establishing the Hebrew Sunday School Society in 1838 in Philadelphia. She taught classes and served as school superintendent from 1871–1886, and served as manager and vice president of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, the parent organization of the Sunday school. She also made generous contributions to other Jewish charities, including the Jewish Maternity Association, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Young Women’s Union, and helped build Touro Hall, permanent home of the Sunday school, in 1891. In her will, she left bequests of over $110,000 to various charities and donated an art collection to the Fairmount Park Art Gallery.

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Date of Birth

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ellen Phillips." (Viewed on November 24, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/phillips-ellen>.


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