I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia (then: Leningrad, USSR). In 1990, I immigrated to Israel, and later made my way to San Francisco Bay Area.
Sadly, my parents Freyda and Michael Pereltsvayg (pictured on their honeymoon!) are no longer with us. Check out my father’s memorial website, where I have posted his memoirs.
People often ask me about my name, what does it mean and where it is from. Here are some answers.
- No, it is not a short for Alexandra, Anastasia or Anna. Or Hanna, for that matter. It is my full name.
- No, it doesn’t mean Asia (= the continent). And yes, it is spelled with a “Y”.
- The best theory about the meaning of my first name: it means “healing” in Aramaic (a now almost-dead language that was once the lingua franca of the Middle East; Jesus probably spoke it). Though, I doubt that my parents intended that meaning (or knew of it) — I was named after my greatgrandmother, Asya Mikhailovna Vikhman (maiden name: Lyandres). That’s her on the photo.
- Despite its strange spelling, my last name comes from Yiddish. The name has been assumed at the turn of the 20th c., so don’t try to trace it back to the times of the First Temple…
- perel = Perl (i.e., “pearl”) + tsvaig = Zweig (i.e., “branch”). So, my last name literally means “a branch of pearls”. Put that together with the first name and you get… “a healing branch of pearls” — beautiful and good for you!