Dispute Over Burial Goes To No. 2 Court

December 07, 2009|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop , tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

Arguments are scheduled Monday before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in a case that will decide where Sultana Edery, who died Feb. 21 at the age of 86, will ultimately be laid to rest.

The Montgomery County resident was buried in Adelphi, at the Mount Lebanon Cemetery, by one side of the family shortly after her death. But another side claims that she really wanted to be buried in Israel, where she held citizenship and lived for a third of her life as an "Orthodox, observant Jew," according to court records. And each faction says it has proof, in the form of recalled conversations and documents, to support its beliefs.

The conflict sparked a family feud and a court case filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court in January, as Edery lay in a "moribund, mostly non-lucid state in intensive care at a local hospital," records show.

The pro-Israel side, composed of two of Edery's sons, Paul and Hanan Edery, is now appealing the court decisions that allowed the Maryland interment and prevented her remains from being removed. At issue, they say, is a public policy matter "addressing the ancient legal question of who decides the place and method of disposing of the bodies of the dead."

They believe that the lower court misread a state statute, resulting in "manifest injustice." Her four other surviving children, led by son Shlomo Edery, maintain the opposite.

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