Covina, California FD-487
Obituary of Allegra Benaltabet
Please share a memory of Allegra to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
Allegra Mayo was born in Portland Oregon on October 1,1921, to parents Marie Menashe (from Istanbul) and Solomon Mayo (from Rhodes). Her parents met and were married in Portland. Allegra had two younger sisters, Esther (now 97) and Tillie (deceased), with whom she was very close throughout their lives. She loved to travel, and before she married, she enjoyed visiting her cousin Sarah in New York, her Uncle Sam & Aunt Lilli in Chicago, and made several trips to Seattle and Los Angeles where she had many friends and relatives. During one of her trips to Seattle, Allegra met and went out with a boy named Sam. She subsequently met his older brother, Albert Benaltabet while on one of her trips to Los Angeles. It took a few years before she and Al finally got serious and were married, January 10, 1948. She was 27 and he was 36. Allegra moved into the house Al had purchased on 8th Ave. and 48th Street where he lived with his sister, Sarah and his mother, Estrella. Allegra was instrumental in introducing her new sister-in-law, Sarah to her mother’s 1st cousin, Sam Menashe who lived in Portland. A year later, Sarah and Sam were wed in Portland, where they remained. Allegra & Al had two daughters, Lynn who was born October 13, 1948, and Michele who was born October 3, 1952. Estrella continued to live with Al and Allegra for the first 12 years of their marriage. Nine years later, Allegra’s father passed away and Allegra’s mother moved in with them for the next 18 years. Their daughters believed it was natural to have a grandparent living with them. Didn’t everyone have a 3 generation home? Allegra, like Albert, was a very kind and compassionate person. She was always more concerned about the welfare of others than she was about her own and instilled those feelings in her daughters. She was humble, never boastful. She led a happy and extremely satisfied life, never having a need for more than what they had. Allegra loved giving to others, but would always say “don’t get me anything, I already have everything I need.” Family and extended family meant everything to Allegra and Al. Most of their close friends were cousins or related in some way. If friends were not related, it didn’t matter, they were made to feel like and soon became part of the family. They built a house and moved to Ladera Heights in 1960. Their home was always open and nothing gave them more pleasure than to host out of town relatives. Every Sunday seemed like a party. Family members were always at the house and Allegra would call friends and say “the pool is open and waiting” and soon the house and yard were buzzing. Lynn and Michele grew up believing they were related to everyone in the Sephardic community. There was always something going on…..the regular card games, the picnics and social gatherings. The size and closeness of the community was amazing. It’s no wonder both daughters enjoy entertaining so much. From one generation to the next, Allegra’s oldest grandchild, Dana and her husband Matt, built an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven so they could entertain family and friends…..and indeed they do. In her early days of entertaining, Allegra was known for her chiffon cakes and lemon meringue pies. Allegra loved cooking for her family, especially Sephardic foods. The food that was requested the most was burekas. It wasn’t a family gathering without Grandma’s or “Nona’s” burekas. The three favorites were potato and cheese, spinach and cheese, and mushroom and onion. Don and the kids would call on a regular basis to ask “guess what we need?” and Allegra would reply ”I know, I know, you need more burekas.” Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren couldn’t get enough of them. As her mother had taught her, Allegra made burekas with Lynn and her granddaughter Dana. They will now teach Michele and her daughter Kimberly the art of bureka making, which is truly a labor of love! The boys who married Allegra’s daughters were never thought of as sons-in-law. They were sons, plain and simple. She love them as if she had given birth to them. And wow, did they enjoy kidding with her, not to mention eating her foods. As active members in the Sephardic community, they were founding members of The Sephardic Hebrew Center on Slauson. Many years later, after a merger, the Temple became part of The Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel on Wilshire Blvd. Allegra also enjoyed being active in Hadassah through her entire adult life. She served on the board and looked forward to seeing the members of her group on a regular basis. She loved making up beautiful vegetable baskets for the luncheons, and always showed up with her lemon cakes for every meeting. For many years, Allegra helped Al at their flower shop during the holidays. As the girls grew older, Allegra became the full-time bookkeeper, and really enjoyed the time she and Al worked together. On the day of Allegra’s 60th birthday, Al came home and announced “I sold the shop today, happy birthday honey!” They had the good fortune of enjoying 24 years of retirement together and knew how to embrace life. Everyone who met Allegra instantly fell in love with her and she loved them right back. Several years after Albert passed away, a lovely lady who had been the caregiver for the next door neighbor, moved in and became Allegra’s companion. Initially Allegra was against the idea of needing any help, but it didn’t take long before she and Regina became the best of friends. Regina took over driving for Allegra, learned how to knit. She accompanied Allegra, to meetings, luncheons, and all social gatherings. She even she even learned some Ladino and the art of making…what else?...burekas! Allegra was a woman who loved life. She had impeccable taste in dressing and knit a scarf for every outfit she owned. It gave her such pleasure to knit scarves for others as well. It became a tradition for Allegra, with the help of Regina in recent years, to knit scarves for all the women who attended Lynn & Don’s Hanukkah parties. Their friends would look forward to receiving another “Allegra scarf” and also got them for their birthdays. The men put in their requests as well. Allegra, Regina and the Hadassah Ladies also knit scarves for the soldiers overseas to keep them warm, while they kept us and so many others safe. Regina was truly Allegra’s “Angel” who kept her heathy, active and alive for so many years. Allegra and her beloved Al were blessed with many mitzvahs in their life together. In 58 years of marriage, they travelled the world with good friends and family, meeting cousins in Israel, Brussels, and Rhodes. They had 2 children, 4 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, and many well-loved nieces, nephews and cousins who they treasured and who all adored them. Albert passed away in 2006, at the age of 93, before the birth of the last two great-grandchildren. Nothing gave Allegra more pleasure than seeing or speaking on the phone with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Allegra lived with gusto until just 4 months short of her 100th birthday. Al always said the best day of his life was the day he married Allegra!!! Due to pandemic-related attendance limitations, Allegra's funeral will be streamed via ZOOM. Please follow the instructions below, or click on the ZOOM link to the left. Allegra Benaltabet ~ Funeral Stream Time: Jun 13, 2021 12:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86181448844?pwd=YUsrOE43REJvR0dwUDIvQ000Q2ErUT09 Meeting ID: 861 8144 8844 Passcode: 899751 One tap mobile +16699009128,,86181448844#,,,,*899751# US (San Jose) +12532158782,,86181448844#,,,,*899751# US (Tacoma) Dial by your location +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) Meeting ID: 861 8144 8844 Passcode: 899751 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kyaefxxBV