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U.S. yekkes in Israel suffer under low dollar

August 1, 2008

In a brief sidebar to a Haaretz story on the weak dollar’s impact on the lives of American retirees in Israel, I also tell the story of an old yekke.

A German-U.S.-Israeli tale  

Sidney Selig was born in 1924 in Frankfurt, Germany, fled the Nazis with the Kindertransport and arrived in New York in the 1940s, via London. After nearly 50 years in America, 32 of them as the cantor of the Ohav Sholaum synagogue in the legendary German-Jewish community of Washington Heights, Selig decided to move to Jerusalem in 1987. 

“I never got any money from Germany,” he told Anglo File, referring to Holocaust reparations payments. “I call this money blood money. My family was killed and I should get paid for it?” His position as cantor didn’t pay much, he said, and therefore his Social Security payments are proportionately meager. Since undergoing a stroke in 2005, Selig, 84, has required 24-hour care – another expense that he and his wife have to shoulder out of their Social Security allowances. “But we never had an extravagant lifestyle,” his wife, Shoshanna, said. “We feel the impact of the low dollar, but we don’t suffer too much from it. We never bought expensive things anyway.”

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One comment

  1. NY NAME IS RACHEL WEIS. I AM BENNO WEIS’S DAUGHTER.
    I READ YOUR ARTICLE ON THE INTERNET.
    I LIVE IN FLATBUSH NOW SINCE MY FATHER WAS NIFTAR.
    ALL THE BEST.



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