MEMOIR: A portrait of my father (continued)
(I published a memoir about my father, entitled "My father was a rebel," on July 12, 2007, relating how he refused to continue his rabbinical studies and follow his father's footsteps to become an Orthodox rabbi. More recently, July 6, 2008, I posted a piece entitled "My grievance against my father," complaining about my father's negative attitude toward my childhood obsession with sports.)
My father was brought to this country in 1906 as an 8-year old from a small town in northeastern Poland then under Czarist Russian rule. After spending nearly a year in Antwerp, Belgium, the family settled on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Dad, who died in 1990 at the age of 92, was named Meyer. His Hebrew name was Yehiel Mayer. Bestowing English names on their children, most Jewish immigrants transformed Yehiel into Charles. But my grandfather frowned on the name "Charley." He turned the Hebrew name Mayer into the English Meyer, using it as his son's first name and leaving my father without an English middle name.