Community Collaboration Prevents Autopsy


bp-community-council-breakfastAt about 9 this past Friday morning, a distraught woman found her way to the offices of the Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC). an affiliate of Met Council, that serves Boro Park and surrounding areas with all their social service needs, including Medicaid and Health Insurance enrollment, food stamp enrollment, employment services, crisis assistance, legal assistance, immigration and citizenship, and services to seniors and holocaust survivors

The woman claimed that her father had died the previous day and she was trying to locate the body. When the deceased person was first discovered on Thursday afternoon, the police, using the man’s cell phone were able to contact some of his relatives. The daughter was allowed into the house to identify the body but was told that they were not able to release the body for burial until cleared by the Medical Examiner. However by Friday morning she still had not heard from either the police or Medical Examiner.

The JCC immediately contacted the organization Chesed Shel Emes (CSE), who have major expertise in these areas. A CSE representative immediately came over to meet the woman. After interviewing her and getting basic details, CSE contacted the ME’s office. As it turned out they were about to begin an autopsy. The CSE representative took the woman down to the ME’s office where she was able to file a religious objection thus preventing the autopsy.

The body was released before Shabbos and on Sunday was brought to kevuras Yisroel at the CSE cemetery in upstate NY.
“We are not sure how this person found our office”, said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber Executive Director of Boro Park JCC. ‘But it’s obvious the hashgacha a sent her to us in the nick of time.” Rabbi Naftali Reiner, Board member of BPJCC and member of Chesed Shel Emes lauded the cooperation between the two organizations. ” The mission of CSE is to make sure every Jew gets a prepare burial and this was a most important collaboration with BPJCC tp prevent this autopsy and assure proper burial” said Rabbi Reiner.

By The Friedlander Group

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  1. Note there are instances where autopsies are not only permitted but halachically mandated. ( See teshuva of former chief rabbi Isaac Halevy Herzog Z’L)