Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Religious Family Life

Your father's name was?



Yahoshua, yes. But this was the atmosphere in the house. My, my grandfather--he used to test me and as a matter of fact, sometimes he was the, you know, in later years, I would exceed him, because, you know, we were younger. It's like a young doctor versus an old one, you know. I knew the latest stuff, and I was sharp, and so on--tests--and he never gave compliments. He was shocked that I knew this, I knew that. He would just yank something out of mid air. "What does it say blah, blah, in this book or in that book, in this Chumash and this," and I would just, just like that, answer. But, uh, it's amazing that uh, through all the years, this knowledge has stayed with me.

And your brothers went through the same?

No. My brother--my older brother went to also to cheder and so on, but somehow, my parents decided that he was not a scholar.

This is David?

No. That was Avrum.

The younger one...

The younger one was only four or five years old, so uh, he, he didn't start.

What did Avrum do then?

Well, he went to cheder but his, his forte was--he had, he had a beautiful voice, and, you know, he played the violin, and they wanted him in every Jewish worship play the violin. Me, I was a klutz. I couldn't, you know, no instruments. My voice was not bad, but on him, they had all kinds of hopes that maybe he'll be a ???, you know, that he'll be a--because we used to be--my brother and I used to be what they called meshorarim. Meshorarim were helpers to the, to the Cantor--volunteers, I mean. You know, when the Cantor, you know, had this entourage of young boys, and we would accompany him when he needed you. So, we would rehearse during the year. Go to his house, and he would have a record of a famous Cantor, and we'd steal these pieces, you know, ??? the whole business. I mean these people were involved, I'm telling you. Like, here we're pursuing shopping centers and this and steel business. For them, this was the essence of life.

And it pervaded your whole life.

Yes. And as a matter of fact, to this day, I--well, you know, I'm older now, and it's--but in those days, I was so jealous of everybody else--of every child, every little boy, because they had all the freedom, you know, in homes that were not as religious. Our home was unbelievable.

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