Chief Rabbi Of Marseille Denies Burial Extortion
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Orthodox rabbinate of France’s second largest city allegedly extorted the bereaved family of a deceased woman, demanding a kickback of almost $10,000 to bury her in her family’s burial plot.
Marseille’s Consistoire, the Jewish communal body that provides religious services including burials, allegedly demanded a $9,100 kickback from the bereaved family of Jeannine Timsit in exchange for burying her in the family’s plot at the Saint-Pierre cemetery. The demand was allegedly made only hours after the family had agreed to pay the Consistoire $1,300 for the same burial, the JTA reported.
The family says if refused to pay the $9,100 and Timsit – who had asked to be buried next to her husband – was instead buried elsewhere in the area designated for Jewish burials by the Consistoire by the city government’s burial service.
The allegations were reported by the French daily newspaper La Provence.
Ruben Ohana, the Orthodox chief rabbi of Marseille who is in charge of the Consistoire’s religious services, denied any wrongdoing by his employees.
Ohana claimed the family’s burial plot was full, and he reportedly insisted that the Consistoire “never promised to extend it. This would have meant an elevation, which is forbidden by Jewish ethics, unless I would have given permission, which I never have,” he reportedly told La Provence. Ohana also reportedly told the paper that $9,100 was a normal price for a Jewish burial.
However, the deceased’s grandson, Frederic Tismit, reportedly told La Provence that the cemetery’s caretakers had added the extra burial space in the family plot in 2012 – long before his grandmother passed away.