Brooklyn, NY – Over A Decade Later, Mystery of Missing Williamsburg Man Solved


    Beck was on the NYPD's missing list for over 12 yearsBrooklyn, NY – After a disappearance of almost thirteen years, a well known fixture in Williamsburg has finally been located in a grave at the largest potter’s field in the United States, thanks to advanced fingerprinting technology.

    Yisroel Meir Beck was forty two years old and a Brooklyn resident at the time of his disappearance. The man, who was known to frequent batei medrashim and weddings in Williamsburg, was last seen on the morning of February 25th, 2000 on Bedford Avenue. While the Beck family has been searching extensively for the missing man since his disappearance, his whereabouts became known only recently.

    “I got a phone call from Sergeant Hill at the NYPD on January 14th who told me that new fingerprints from many years ago had just been entered into his database, identifying my brother as an unknown missing person who had been fingerprinted at the morgue in an attempt to establish his identity,” Rivka Fulda, Beck’s sister, told VIN News. “I was told they were using new technology that scans fingerprints from all different places and that fingerprints of my brother’s that were on file matched those newly entered fingerprints that had been taken at the medical examiner’s office many years ago.”

    Mrs. Fulda was told by detectives that the medical examiner’s report stated that an unknown person walked into a New York City hospital and died in the emergency room on February 29, 2000, four days after her brother was last seen.

    “He had no identification of any sort on him,” explained Mrs. Fulda. “His body was sent to the medical examiner’s office and when no one claimed the body he was sent to Hart Island.”

    All unidentified bodies in New York City are sent to Hart Island, the largest tax funded cemetery in the world, for interment after being photographed at the morgue. Located east of City Island in the Long Island Sound, burials at the 101 acre cemetery are conducted by Rikers Island inmates.

    “To me, finding a fingerprint match was an indication that this could be it, but I needed more,” said Mrs. Fulda. “I got a medical report a week or so ago that was very pareve. It gave height, weight and pathology and also mentioned that the body in question had been circumcised. That was important but still not conclusive.”

    Final confirmation finally came in the form of a morgue photograph, which Mrs. Fulda received in the mail last Thursday.

    “I open this envelope and there is the picture of the person who had passed away. It was definitely him,” reported Mrs. Fulda. “The next morning, I contacted some of the people he had been in touch with in Williamsburg, because I had no idea how to go about taking care of things. Chesed Shel Emes called me immediately. They are an amazing institution.”

    Chesed Shel Emes has confirmed that they are in the process of initiating the process of disinterment in order to give Beck a proper kevura, a procedure which will take extra time given the extended holiday weekend.

    “We need to get a death certificate and the proper permits,” said Mendy Rosenberg of Chesed Shel Emes. “We have already been in touch with the Corrections Department at Rikers Island which takes care of the potter’s field. As soon as we have the proper paperwork in place we can go ahead and give him the burial he deserves.”

    “I am very pleased that we at Chessed Shel Emes were able to be a part of this great deed and help bring closure for the family and give him a proper jewish burial,” added community activist and Chesed Shel Emes member Zvi Gluck.

    Mrs. Fulda told VIN News that while she continued to hope that her brother would be found safely, after such a prolonged absence with no contact she was concerned that something had happened to him.

    “We called the police, checked with hospital, posted signs everywhere, both in Brooklyn and in the Catskills,” recalled Mrs. Fulda. “We ran an extensive search and my father contacted mekubalim in Eretz Yisroel. Although it did not look hopeful, we never gave up and I was always mispallel that we should be able to bring him to kever yisroel.”

    Mrs. Fulda hopes to bury her brother, Yisroel Meir ben R’ Yitzchok Eizik somewhere near Williamsburg.

    “I would like for him to be in a place where he is accessible to the people he was close with. He was very well known in Williamsburg and I would like for people to be able to go there and daven for him,” said Mrs. Fulda.

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    1. Yisroel Meir ben R’ Yitzchok Eizik Beck was a Heilige neshomeh. He was the son of a great talmid Chochom in london who learnt torah day and night a real tzadick nister . may he be a mailitz tov for all those who are misasaik with this niftar

    2. Sad story. It’s important that people receive resolutions for their unidentified loved ones. Improved identification efforts for unknown people buried at Hart Island was made possible by a small group of artists like Melinda Hunt who created the Hart Island Project which pushed the city to preserve records, allow people access to the Island and improve identification process. Retrieving bodies from there is a difficult legal and bureaucratic journey for many families that discover someone buried their.

      • lighting a candle? how hard is that? why would that be an aliyah for his neshoma? why wouldn’t you do something more meaningful (like saying some tehilim, for instance) if you wanted to do something for his neshoma? [please note: this is a serious question, not a sarcastic one.]

        • Rav Mendele Rimanover zya said that we cannot understand how great of a favor it is to a departed tzaddik’s soul to light a candle in his memory. He asked people to light candles in his memory and it is a well-known segulah

        • Before you question what is and what is not an aliyah for neshomes, perhaps you should discuss the matter with Rov. It seems that you need to have quite a few fundamentals set straight (before you post in public).

          • I have asked Rabonim and I am still looking for an answer as to why lighting a candle should elevate a neshoma. I think I heard they do the candle thing in India by those who worship avoda zora for their departed.

        • everything you do for a neshuma is chashuv but nowhere does it say that thilim helps for a neshuma (maybe for the person being mispalel) yet the rabeini bacheye brings clearly that “neir hashem nishmas adum” that a candle gives immense pleasure for a neshuma

          • mistaken about what? the guy asked a question and everyone is jumping to criticize!

            You can’t even write a simple sentence in English, and you are criticizing someone else’s comment?

    3. Meir Beck (as he was called) felt very at home in Williamsburg. Despite his mental illness, he had simchas hachaim, and would be kind to everyone. This poor neshama did not have an easy life, and hashem has his plan why Meir\’s body had to wander so long. Now that he can come to Kever Yisrael, we urge the Williamsburg Community to pay him respect and not forget his yartzeit of \”23 of Adar\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”. Please daven that Meir\’s holy Neshama reach his highest level and be mispallel for Mashiach Bkorov!!

    4. Has it been that long since he was around? Unbelievable! His father learned by Rav Boruch Ber, and had seen tremendous tragedy before he came to England. His zeide was a tzadik Rav Mendele Feinstein the sofer, and his uncle was Rav Goldstein the dayan of Badatz in Yerusholayim. Poor Meir had some problems but he was able to have a cheerful conversation… and got around all over the city.

      • Maitiv, you seem to know a lot about the family, sounds like you must be a fellow Londoner. Actually tonight is the yahrzeit of my grandfather R”Mendel z”l. What else do you remember of our family? (you may ask the moderator for my email) Auf Simchos

    5. So quick to give mussar to someone who wants to do something nice. For your information to light a candle is very important for the neshama as well as learning Mishnoat.

      • no one gave mussar, you am oretz. so why don’t you go buy a box of candles and light ’em up? I’m sure that the two or three second effort you expend will be a great aliyah for the neshomos, compared to, chas vesholom that you do something that takes effort on your part to do, like giving tzdaka or learning a little.

        Maybe you even turn on a light switch, it’s even easier and quicker than lighting a candle? I mean, don’t go out of your way to exert yourself in your quest to help a nashama that passed.

        How arrogant and self-righteous you are, you pathetic excuse for a man! Go learn a little instead of sitting here on the internet, big tzaddik, and as you say, “so quick to give mussar” to someone who WASN’T trying to give mussar.

        Learning is one thing. understanding what you learn is something else. You apparently don’t have the ability to do part two. Sad!

        • I get the part about lighting a candle gives the neshoma an aliya, but please explain the mechanics behind it. It makes sense to me that doing something positive, a mitzva say, on behalf of the neshoma would be a merit to the neshoma and elevate it but I just don’t understand what the connection it between blindly lighting a candle and a neshoma getting a rise out of it. I would love to be educated in this area.

    6. I wonder if someone is going to look into why the NYPD didn’t put together the unidentified body with the missing person report of just 4 days before. I would assume that when the Medical Exeminer has an unidentified body they try to see if it matches any recently missing person.
      Anyway, may his neshuma have menicha now in a yiddisha beis hachaim.

      • why don’t YOU do it? why do VIN commenters always seem to have good advice for OTHER people to do?

        I think YOU should call the Medical “Exeminer” and mention to him that he spells his own job title incorrectly.

    7. Mier Beck (as he was called) was well like in the Williamsburg community. Despite his mental illness he has lots of simchas hachayim and didn’t bother anyone. We can’t understand Hashem’s plan why Meir’s poor soul had to wander so long. Finally his Neshama will rest in Gan Eiden with his Chasuva parents. May he all Tzadikin bring the Geula Shleima very soon. We urge the Klall to pay their respect to him, and attend his funeral(which will be posted in shuls), and do a good deed on his Yartzeit of “23 ADAR”. Hamokem Yenachem Eschem…..

      • I didn’t know him, but by all acounts he was an admirable person.

        I don’t undrestand comments like “finally his neshama will rest in gan eden with his choshuva parents.” Are you suggesting that because his remains were misplaced he didn’t make it into gan eden until now? that he wasn’t reunited until now? Are you serious?

        His body was just an envelope, and his use for it is long over. we honor the body because it held the soul, but loss of the body certainly would not deny one access to Olam Haboh. Do you believe that people who died in the holocaust didn’t make it into gan eden because their bodies were lost? that the 9/11 victims are still waiting until all their remains are found and buried?

        I find your comment not only foolish, but offensive.

    8. Perhaps it is due to krum hashkafos, but I cannot imagine all the insults yiddin have thrown at each other in the comments about this story bringing much nachas to the niftar and/or his neshama.

      • don’t say “each other”, as the insults went in one direction only.

        When the custom of lighting a candle was questioned (questioned, not criticized) as an easy two ro three second activity that cost maybe four or five cents, if that, the question was what is the point of such an act which required no effort, expense or difficultly whatsoever?

        The resulting attacks and mussar were incredible, and not single commenter took the comment at what it explicit described as a serious question.

        So in answer to your question, it is not due to krum hashkofos, but rather to rabid dogs masquerading as lamed vov’nicks, perhaps as an early start to Purim.

    9. Yes, I knew Moishe, who is a year younger than me, and I remember Eli also. I had a close friend Shloimi ostreicher, whose father Reb chaim Boruch was a shoiichet and he used to go to learn and ask questions from rabbi Beck. He was the one who explained to me that even though rabbi beck had not been successful with official positions and had a habit of speaking quickly and nervously which sometime made him hard to understand(especially for those who only knew Hungarian/galitzianer Yiddish), he was a phenomenal lamdan.

      Reb Mendele made a tremendous impression on me, his enthusiasm for mitzvos… the way he used to run to the bimah when he got an aliya, and his overall demeanour as someone from a bygone world of ehrliche yiden.

      Best wishes
      ער זאל זיין א מליץ יושר פאר אלעמען
      א. מ.

    10. Aha, I have met your friend many a time when I would daven at while my father ztl was still alive. Yes indeed, people today are made quite different. A shame we did not appreciate the old generation enough while we still had them.


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