Eviction Demanded from Jewish Cemetery

     NEW LONDON, Conn. (CN) – A woman wants a body evicted from her synagogue’s cemetery because the late woman was not Jewish. Maria Balaban sued her own synagogue, The Congregation Ahavath Achim, and the executor of the late Juliet Steer, in Superior Court.

     Balaban was elected in June 2010 to the board of the synagogue, which has more than 100 members, according to her complaint.
     The Congregation AA had merged with The Colchester Jewish Aid Congregation in 1999. Colchester owned real estate that included cemetery grounds. The merger agreement stated that the Congregation “shall not allow anyone of the non-Jewish faith to be buried within the confines of Rows A through H of said cemetery or any other cemetery properties of the former Colchester Jewish Aid Congregation,” Balaban says in her complaint.
     But in April 2010 four members of the board voted to allow the remains of Juliet Steer to be buried in the cemetery, though Steer was not Jewish.
     Balaban says Steer’s interment violates the terms of the merger and will cause her, Balaban, “irreparable harm.” She says she and her husband have burial plots in the cemetery.
     Balaban seeks an injunction prohibiting the Congregation from allowing any Gentile to be buried there, and she wants Steer’s body exhumed and evicted.
     Balaban is represented by William Gallagher of New Haven.

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