Remy Pessah was born in Egypt in 1947, and lived through the wars of 1956 and 1967.
In the mid 1960’s, Remy met her future husband, Joe Pessah, while learning Hebrew in an after school program. They were engaged in 1966, planned to wed in the summer of 1968, but were forced to postpone their wedding when the Six Day War broke out on June 5, 1967. During this time, Joe and his father, along with all Jewish men from the ages of 18 to 55, were taken away and imprisoned. Remy and her family did not know whether they were alive or dead or whether they would ever return at all.
For six months she received no word on what had happened to Joe. Finally, one day Remy received a postcard from Joe, and from then on for three years, Remy and Joe’s only interactions were from when Joe was behind bars. Committed, Remy travelled for two and a half hours each way for a visit that was allowed to last for just a few minutes. The imprisonment of nearly all Jewish men in Egypt was extremely difficult for many women. Jewish synagogues attempted to help, but as most women had no income, their entire savings were sometimes depleted within the first year, which is why Joe’s mother was forced to flee Egypt with her youngest children. Remy has a picture of Joe’s mother and her other five children saying goodbye to Joe, Joe’s father and brother.
Remy’s father was the first with news that Joe and the others were to soon be freed. Remy knew that the Jewish people were to be deported with their families. But come 1968, the government had stopped allowing the Jews to leave Egypt, and Remy was not yet Joe’s family. Thus, by 1970, Remy realized her only opportunity to join her fiancé out of Egypt was if they married. Taking matters into her own hands, Remy surprised Joe one visit at the prison when she came with a rabbi and a pair of rings. They married with Joe behind bars. Joe was released from prison on June 24th, 1970 and Remy was able to join him just several days later.
Remy attended Les Sœurs Franciscaines, a French school run by Catholic nuns, and completed her secondary education at the American College for Girls. She studied at the American University in Cairo, majoring in a five-year program in Chemistry and Physics. After college, she left Egypt for the United States and later attended San Jose State University, earning her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry. Since then, Remy has worked as a process engineer in the semiconductor high tech industry. Recently, she has begun to pursue her life long dream of being a fashion designer. Her painted silk and unique garments are sold in many boutiques in San Francisco, Carmel, San Carlos, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park.