Joy Levy Alkalay (1920-2014)

Joy Levi Alkalay was born in 1920 in Vienna, Austria, the only child in a Sephardic family. Perceiving the German threat, the family was permitted to leave Austria because they were Yugoslav nationals. Joy’s family went first to Zagreb and from there to Sarajevo and Split. Later she was interned by the Italians on the island of Korcula where she met and married Joe Alkalay. When the Italians abandoned Korcula, Joy and Joe went to Bari, Italy where Joy worked with the American and British armies. In 1945 they moved from Bari to Milan where she worked for the Joint Distribution Committee and managed to obtain visas to the United States for her and her husband. They arrived in New York in August 1950 where they were welcomed by friends and her family Rabbi from Vienna. They then came to Portland under the auspices of the United Service for New Americans, with a visa issued by the International Refugee Organization (the Truman Bill). In Portland, Joy first worked as a secretary to David Robinson, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, and then from 1956 until retirement in several financial capacities and as the Administrative Affairs Director at Congregation Beth Israel.

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