Court orders Orthodox woman to be cremated after three month battle

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

The body of a 105-year-old Jewish woman from New York who died three months ago will finally be removed from a mortuary after a judge ruled that she could be cremated.

Ethel Baar, who died on September 11, began following Orthodox Judaism late in life, and her great-nephew James Pollak said that she had wanted to be laid to rest in accordance with Orthodox tradition.

But in 1999 she also stated in her will that she wanted her body to be cremated, which is against halachah.

The conflicting requests prompted a court battle and left her languishing in the mortuary while judges came to a decision.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon has now said the document should stand and that Mrs Baar should be cremated.

Justice Solomon said: “That, my friends, is all it is.

“If I were a cadaver, I would want my situation resolved sooner rather than later."

Mrs Baar's ashes will now be scattered in Israel.

Last updated: 12:53pm, December 7 2010