Letters to the Editor: Week of May 13, 2015

JF&CS is community resource for indigent funerals

One of the most basic responsibilities of a Jewish community is to ensure that its deceased members are treated with reverence and respect — the principle of kevod hamet. The May 6 Light article about the burial of an indigent Jewish man highlights the importance of this need. More and more frequently, our community takes on an important role that includes not only the Jewish funeral homes and Jewish cemeteries, but also may involve family from out of town or, in this instance, from another country. In some instances, Jewish Family & Children’s Service will assume responsibility for coordinating burial and providing a chaplain when there is no congregational affiliation. Our community is now at the point where a formal program/policy related to indigent funerals would be appropriate. The recent demographic study completed by the Jewish Federation noted the growing number of households who are poor or near poor. It also documented the growing number of aging baby boomers. Both facts suggest that the frequency of indigent funerals will only increase over time. These are sensitive issues for all who are involved and remind us that even in death, our community needs to be there to provide care and support.

L. Louis Albert, Executive Director, Jewish Family & Children’s Service

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Attorney writes to dispute story details

I read with interest your front page article in the Light on May 6, titled “Best intentions clash in story of man’s death, burial.” As counsel for the Bosenzon family, I have a responsibility to point out a number of issues and inaccuracies in your report. First, Gregoriy Bosenzon did not merely make a deposit towards a pre-paid cremation, he paid the full amount charged for the service, including the cost of, outlining  specific directions for, his remains to be shipped to the Ukraine for interment next to his late wife.  Next, the contract in question included clear provisions which would have allowed the parties to the contract to terminate the agreement at any time.  Timothy Rader (who owned the mortuary company) testified that no effort was ever made by Gregoriy Bosenzon to terminate the agreement.  

Following Gregoriy’s death and for almost a month thereafter, Rader repeatedly emailed members of the family promising to fulfill this contract, saying only that the delays in meeting Gregoriy’s wishes were caused by government forms and red tape.  Not once did he suggest that anyone had come forward claiming Gregoriy had a change of heart.

Your article suggests that the contract price was refunded to the Bosenzon family.  No such refund was ever made. The contract was never rescinded.  Finally, your writer’s statement that no court order giving the family, through the auspices of my office, the right to the remains of Mr. Bosenzon is inaccurate.  A copy of that order is attached for your reference.

Jay B. Umansky, Esq., The Law Offices of Jay B. Umansky, P.C.

 

Editor’s Note:  We regret that the original article indicated there was no court order relating to the disinterment of Bosenzon’s body; view the order at http://bit.ly/1PgFsPR. Our online edition corrected the original statement that there was no court order. However, the order for disinterment that was entered into in the case does not appear to involve Chevra Kadisha Cemetery, and an attorney who works with the Ahavas Chesed burial society claims it may not be enforceable against the cemetery. At the time this edition goes to press, we are not aware of any additional action that has been initiated since the original story appeared that would lead to the future disinterment of Bosenzon’s body.