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Joy Wolfe was born Joy Gilman in London, 1938. Her grandparents were migrants to the country from Eastern Europe – something that was never really discussed at home.
Joy became involved in the Jewish community life in South London from an early age. She was an enthusiastic member of Brighton and Hove Maccabi, becoming the chair of the group aged 18. Her work in Zionism also started young, through membership of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organisation) – making her first trip to Israel aged 15.
After school Joy joined the family hairdressing business, but after her marriage to Brian in 1959 she started working in public relations and later journalism – eventually becoming editor of the Jewish Gazette. At the age of 24 Joy became a local councillor – the youngest on Maidstone Council. But her political career was cut short when she moved to Wilmslow in 1970 following Brian’s job.
Joy’s Jewish community commitments were equally numerous in Manchester, with her many positions including governor of North Cheshire Jewish Primary School, governor at Langdon College, president of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, and life president of the Zionist Central Council and Manchester WIZO. Joy is a passionate Zionist and dedicates a large proportion of her time to supporting Israel – particularly in challenging what she considers biased media reporting about the state.
In 1994 Joy’s communal work was recognised when she won ‘Provincial Jewish Woman of the Year’, and in 2009 when she received an MBE for her wider community work.