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The DDF community is awesome and I’ve been able to meet up with forum members from across the globe. I love the Destination Guides and Trip Reports boards where there is tons of great info shared to create the perfect trip for just about anywhere on this planet.
Many of the deals we post here on DansDeals are sourced from DDF posts. Top contributors have received prizes ranging from $1,500 Amazon gift cards to 40 year old bottles of scotch to a free DDF dinner in Manhattan. There’s a real sense of community that you don’t get on a Facebook group or Whatsapp and that shines through all the time. The community sticks together, through good times celebrating births, engagements, and more, DDF meetups at member weddings, through needy times for COVID relief funds, a DDFer in legal trouble or a couple in need to make their wedding, as well as raising money for the widow of a young DDF member. There has even been a DDF shidduch matched between 2 members!
DDF member @Luvisrael posted on the forums at 1:05pm on Sunday asking for help in tracking down the owners of an old siddur.
He wrote that “The last inscription is by Hilde Meyer. She writes “my dear husband Dr. Nathan Meyer passed away on May 27, 1977.””
I asked @Luvisrael how he came about the siddur. He said that he was learning at the Mir in Jerusalem some 7 years ago when he was single. He passed by a shaimos dumpster in a side alley near the Yeshiva and happened to pick up a sefer out of a pile that someone tossed there. He tried doing some research unsuccessfully back then, and wound up bringing the siddur home to his parents’ house, where it was forgotten about.
This past Motzei Shabbos he was visiting his parents with his family, and his mother asked him where the siddur came from. Now on DDF, he asked forum members for help returning it to its owner.
DDF member @biobook joined the forums during COVID times and has been an incredible resource for the community over the past year. She’s been instrumental in “dumbing down” hard to grasp scientific studies and she excels in genealogy research.
Her initial finding led to the obituaries of Dr. Nathan Meyer and his wife Hilde, though they didn’t have any kids together. She shared this Haaretz article about Hilde making aliya at the age of 94 along with her sister at the age of 97. The sisters both survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Soon afterward, @biobook discovered that Dr. Nathan Meyer had a first wife, Tillie Meyer. Based on another article she found, @Luvisrael was able to track down Yael Lock (nee Meyer), who lived in Lakewood, NJ, just minutes from @Luvisrael!
And less than 4 hours after @Luvisrael asked for help, the siddur was returned to Yael Lock, the youngest descendent written in the Siddur’s family tree.
I spoke with Yael and she told me that the Siddur started off with her great-great-grandfather, Meyer Meyer. And yes, she wonders if Meyer’s parents had an odd sense of humor. 😀
The Siddur itself is a time capsule for the family. It includes dates when descendants were born, wedding dates, and more family history. It also lists some relatives who died as children that Yael had never even heard about!
Meyer Meyer’s son, Yissachar Seligmann Meyer, become the Rav of Regensberg, Germany. He is Yael’s great-grandfather:
In the siddur is the birth announcement for Rav Yissachar Seligmann Meyer’s son, Nathan Meyer, who was Yael’s grandfather.
Dr. Nathan Meyer escaped Hamburg for the US in 1937:
Yael’s father was Yissachar Rudolf (Rudi) Seligmann Meyer, who escaped as a 12 year old to the US with his sister Hani and mother Tillie in 1938. Their dog, Strupsi, pictured below just before their escape, was left with neighbors in Hamburg.
Rudi enlisted in the US Army at the age of 17 in 1943, immediately after becoming an American citizen. He fought the Nazis in Europe, including at the Battle of the Bulge.
Rudi’s hebrew name was Yissachar, named after his grandfather, the Rav of Regensberg. Yael said that he was one of the only ones of his generation to remain frum. His Uncle Yaakov (after whom Yael’s brother, Rabbi Yaakov Meyer of Denver, Colorado, was named), encouraged him to stay frum and that he had an obligation live up to the example of his namesake, the Rav. Uncle Yaakov’s son also carried the name Yissachar Seligmann. He became the Rav and founder of Yeshivat Hanegev in Netivot, Israel, but he was never blessed with children.
Yael with her father Rudi at her wedding in 1982:
The last 3 birth entries found in the Siddur are for Yael and her older siblings:
Yael with her older siblings listed in the Siddur, Tamara Laufer and Rabbi Yaakov Meyer.
Yael went through a rough year and shared that the Hashgocha Protis of getting the siddur back in her family felt like a huge hug from Hashem. Her mother, Miryam Bollag Meyer, contracted COVID-19 and passed away this past April. She died on the day before her husband’s Rudi’s yahrtzeit.
Yael joked that Rudi came to escort her mother to the heavens on his 5th yahrtzeit, but being the German born Yekke that he was, he showed up a day early!
While Yael knew of such a siddur on her mother’s side, she never knew one existed on her father’s side.
While there are extra pages for more names, she plans to bring the names up to date with new papers to be held in the Siddur. And she’s very grateful and awed by @Luvisrael, @biobook, and to everyone who helped return the siddur to its rightful home.
So, how did the Siddur wind up in a sheimos dumpster in a Jerusalem side alley near the Mir?
Yael’s grandfather, Dr. Nathan Meyer, divorced from her grandmother Tillie before Yael was born. He married Hilde in 1955. Dr. Meyer’s entire estate and his seforim wound up with Hilde when he died in 1977. Hilde took all of her belongings with her to Israel when she made aliya in December 2004, though she passed away just a few months later in May 2005. Tillie passed away in 2006, at the ripe old age of 100.
Hilde was previously married before the Holocaust, but her husband didn’t survive and she didn’t have any children. She was in her 40s when she married Dr. Nathan Meyer in the US and she never did have kids of her own.
Hilde didn’t have a close relationship with Nathan’s children and donated her estate to museums and other causes in Israel.
How exactly the Siddur got from there to a discard pile is anyone’s guess, but some 6 decades after its last entry, it found its way home, with a lot of Hashgocha Pratis, and an assist from some resourceful DDF members!