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Seaside shul funds burial of man who died penniless

Bournemouth congregation intervenes after body lay in mortuary for four months

    Throop Cemetery
    Throop Cemetery

    Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation has funded the burial of a man with heavy debts who died locally.

    Asda supermarket worker David Jacobs, originally from Borehamwood, passed away in October, aged 68, from a brain tumour. He lived alone and was not in contact with family members.

    His body lay in a Bournemouth mortuary for four months before old North-West London friends Bradley Cohen and Stephen Segal found out about his death and contacted the Orthodox synagogue.

    The burial ceremony was last week in the shul’s Throop Cemetery. It was conducted by BHC’s Rabbi Adrian Jesner and attended by 20 people, among them Mr Cohen and Mr Segal.

    Mahir Ozdamar — BHC vice-president and a member of the congregation since the 1980s — said he had never come across such a case. It was felt that it was “incumbent on us as Orthodox Jews” to arrange a suitable burial.

    “The hospital where he was told us we could have washed our hands of the situation and walked away and they would have gone through the process of disposing of the body. But we couldn’t just leave him there.

    “It is a sad story and it sounded that he had a somewhat sad life. But it was also a beautiful ceremony with a good turnout, including some of his colleagues from Asda.”

    Mr Jacobs was barmitzvah at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue and latterly lived in Bushey and Canons Park. He lost an eye as a result of a facial cancer 30 years ago. He was not religious and had no connection to BHC.

    The Spurs fan was remembered by Mr Cohen as a quietly-spoken man who enjoyed sports.

    “We got to know him because we all had similar interests — he loved his football. His was a sad and unusual story. He was a good man and it’s only right that he got a proper funeral.”

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