In April 2010, I blogged on a case in which a Supreme Court judge in Queens County permitted the non-Jewish spouse of a deceased Jewish man to exhume his body from a Jewish cemetery for reburial in what the judge termed a “non-denominational” cemetery, St. Elizabeth. The decedent was buried in the family plot next to his father. His mother and sister opposed the exhumation, claiming he wanted to be buried in accordance with Jewish Law.
On March 29, 2011 the Appellate Divsion, Second Department affirmed the decision, holding that:
In the absence of consent by, among others, the parents of the deceased, a court may grant permission to disinter upon a showing of good and substantial reasons . . . Here, the testimony presented at the hearing supports the Supreme Court’s conclusion that the decedent’s paramount concern was that he be buried alongside the petitioner, which was not possible in the Mount Carmel Cemetery due to both the petitioner’s religious affiliation and the lack of available space. Under these circumstances, the Supreme Court properly determined that the petitioner demonstrated good and substantial reasons to disinter the remains of the decedent. (Emphasis added).