TORONTO (Sep. 9)
The Toronto section of the Rabbinical Council of America issued a statement here today condemning recent practices in connection with a Toronto Jewish cemetery which it described as ethical violations and contrary to halachah, Jewish religious law.
The statement, which was issued by Rabbi Gedalia Felder, president of the RCA section, and Rabbi Moses J. Burak, secretary, deplored the alleged sale of consecrated cemetery property for commercial use and the disinterment of the dead “for arbitrary reasons. ” The statement specifically referred to cases “where for supposedly esthetic reasons, gravestones have allegedly been displaced and the final resting places of individuals long dead have been disturbed, contrary to Jewish law.” It added:
“While we find it difficult to conceive that organizations founded for the preservation of Jewish values would resort to such flagrant violations, it is our moral obligation to alarm the community in order to prevent further deterioration. We remind all organizations that the property they hold is a sacred trust and even if they should find it necessary to disband, the disposal of their assets must be made in accordance with the directives of Torah law under proper rabbinic guidance.”
It was understood that one of the cases involved the sale of a parcel of cemetery land for the construction of an apartment building and the removal of a grave for this purpose.