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Friedman v. Gomel Chesed Hebrew Cemetery Association

Decided: October 22, 1952.

SAMUEL FRIEDMAN, DOROTHY FRIEDMAN, FELICIA FEINSWOG, FRANCES FEINSWOG AND FREDERICK FORREST, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GOMEL CHESED HEBREW CEMETERY ASSOCIATION, OF ELIZABETH, N.J., A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, DEFENDANT



Colie, J.s.c.

Colie

The plaintiffs in this suit are the children of Susie and Jacob Feinswog, who seek to enjoin the Gomel Chesed Hebrew Cemetery Association from interfering with the removal of the body of Susie Feinswog from her resting place in the defendant cemetery to the Beth Israel Cemetery located in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

Susie Feinswog died in 1939. She was the wife of Jacob Feinswog who died in 1950. Subsequent to her death, her body was prepared for burial by a committee in accordance with the tenets of orthodox Jewry, and she was interred in the Gomel Chesed Cemetery in consecrated ground.

After her death and within a period of a year or thereabouts, Jacob Feinswog purchased the adjacent plot for the purpose of having his remains interred alongside of those of his wife.

After the prescribed period had elapsed after Susie Feinswog's death, there was erected over Susie Feinswog's grave and over the adjacent unoccupied grave, a monument, and on that part of the monument over Susie Feinswog's grave there was an inscription identifying the grave as hers. On the monument over the adjacent grave there was no inscription.

A still-born child of one of the children was buried in the same cemetery and a monument, according to the testimony, erected over its grave. This suit seeks to enjoin the cemetery from interfering with the removal of not only Susie Feinswog's body but with that of the still-born child.

There was a dispute as to whether or not the body of Susie Feinswog had, in fact, been buried in accordance with the tenets of the orthodox faith. The dispute narrowed down, as I recall it, to whether or not the casket in which she was interred had had removed from it before her interment the white satin lining. I find as a fact that her burial was in accord with orthodox ritual.

The situation continued as I have outlined it until the date of Jacob Feinswog's death. There is testimony in this case from several of his children to the effect that shortly before his death he expressed a wish that he rest with the members of his child's family, that they should all be together. Acting upon that stated wish, the husband of one of the daughters investigated and as a result a plot in the Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge was purchased. It was purchased with the tacit or expressed agreement of all of the children, with the possible exception of Mr. Forrest who lived in Red Bank and who, not wishing to be buried in that plot, expressed no opinion, so far as I now recall.

It is said that the literature which the son-in-law, Mr. Friedman, got from the Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge

was shown to Jacob during his lifetime and that he acquiesced in what they were planning to do. The testimony is that Jacob, during his lifetime, paid his requisite portion.

This court is not bound by the ecclesiastical law. That is too well established to need citation of authorities. But it is equally well established that, while not bound by the ecclesiastical law in any given case, the court, in arriving at its decision, should consider the ...


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