Léa Edelstein was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1929 to Naftula (Nathan)and Golda Davidson, who were Jewish. Léa was the middle child of five daughters, and grew up in a comfortable home in Alexandria during the 1930s and 1940s. The family felt well-accepted as Jews until Israel was recognized as a state by the United Nations in 1948. The family immigrated to the United States in 1949, where Léa found work as a secretary, first in Philadelphia, and later in Chicago. She married WW II veteran SIdney Edelstein in 1952, and the couple made their home in Skokie, Illinois.