Rosalind Nyman Joel was born on February 15, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, to Philip and Rebecca Nyman, who had emigrated from England. In a 1942 student musical production at City College of New York, she met Howard Joel, a German immigrant whose family had escaped Nazi Germany, in 1939. World War II would interrupt their courtship, but after Howard’s service in the U.S. Army, he returned and they married in 1946. Their son William Martin Joel was born in May of 1949. Later, the family adopted Judy, daughter of Rosalind’s late sister Muriel.