Close this search box.

Rules Violation Alleged in Chevra Kadsha Cemetery Mix-Up

Woburn, MA – The unembalmed body of a widow mistakenly laid to rest next to another woman’s husband in Woburn was dug up and driven back to a Brookline funeral home in a pine box that was not even airtight, according to the state board investigating the macabre mixup.

The allegation surfaces as a fifth employee of Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, funeral director Katherine J. Roan, is ordered to appear before the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers to testify about the incident.

“For public health reasons,” state law required the remains — identified by family as 95-year-old Evelyn Zippin of Brighton — be transported in a hermetically sealed container.

Instead, they were loaded with the box in the back of a hearse, George K. Weber, director of the Division of Professional Licensure, said yesterday.

“There are various ways of (sealing the shipment), and (Stanetsky) didn’t do any of them,” Weber said.

Roan could not be reached for comment. Stanetsky spokeswoman Lisa Marshall said, “We’re continuing to work with the board on this investigation.” She declined to comment further.

In addition to Roan, parties facing penalties varying from reprimands to revocation of licenses include the funeral home itself, its president, Kim L. Perry, general manager Bruce Schloss- berg, funeral director Paul Glennon and apprentice embalmer Jane Salk.

As first reported by the Herald, the state alleges Stanetsky staff placed Zippin in a grave at Chevra Kadsha Cemetery in Woburn that was intended for another elderly woman named Evelyn who died the same day. Once the error was realized, it’s alleged that Zippin was exhumed and the two bodies switched without their families ever being told or the necessary permits pulled.

“They never told me anything,” Zippin’s 59-year-old son Bruce said yesterday. “What can you do? I’m a strong person.’’

(Source: Boston Herald)

4 Responses

  1. Dear Editor – the headline here does not match the facts of the story. The mixup was not done by a Chevra Kadisha, it was done by a prominent Jewish funeral home in Brookline.

    Chevra Kadisha is the name of one of the cemeteries in which one of the unfortunate victims remains were laid to rest. The cemetery is not alleged to be involved in the mixup, the fault seems to be with the funeral home.


  2. When my mother & I went to my father’s kever (overseas) a number of years ago, we noticed the plot next to his (reserved for my mother, zol zei gezunt unt shtark) looked like there was someone in it. When we got back she called the cemetery office. As soon as he heard my mother identify herself, the administrator told her, “Don’t worry, Mrs. X, we buried Mr. Y there by mistake but as soon as we realized we dug him up again.”

    While my mother was happy that after 120 she can be next to my father, I was concerned. Al pi Halacha, once a person is buried, kovod ha meis means you don’t “dig him up.” As an active member of the Chevra Kadisha I am well aware of how the niftar/nifteress should be treated.

    The story here is very disturbing, but one thing is clear: this has nothing to do with the Chevra Kadisha. It is unfortunate that the Bais HaChayim has that name & that people don’t read properly! Your readers should be aware that every Chevra works tirelessly to ensure the niftar/nifteress is treated with the highest level of kovod, no matter who he/she may have been before petirah. As I always say, Death is the great equalizer. This sad & disturbing incident in no way reflects on the work of the Chevra: our job is to prepare & bury, not to decide on the place of burial.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts