SATMAR RIVALS IN BURIAL FEUD
By SUSAN EDELMAN • NY Post
Hundreds of Brooklyn Satmars descended on a rival faction's cemetery to protest the blocked burial of a member who died yesterday.
The Satmars controlling the faction based in Rockland County refused to allow Eziel Perlstein, 41, to be buried in the Kiryas Joel cemetery. Perlstein's father lives in Brooklyn, and has ties to the rival group in Williamsburg.
UPDATE 1:15 PM – Here's a more complete report published an hour ago:
Cemetery burials latest flashpoint between Kiryas Joel's feuding factions
By Chris Mckenna • Times Herald Record
KIRYAS JOEL — The bitter fight between rival factions of Satmar Hasidim took a dramatic turn Thursday when mourners hastily dedicated a new cemetery just outside Kiryas Joel to bury a 41-year-old man who died that morning.
One side in the Satmar rift claims Kiryas Joel’s ruling faction refused to let Eziel Perlstein be buried in the community’s main cemetery unless his father, a prominent member of the Brooklyn-based faction, agreed to drop a lawsuit over burial rights in the Kiryas Joel cemetery and posted $50,000 as a refundable guarantee.
Those demands were refused.
And so, compelled by Jewish law to bury the deceased as quickly as possible, mourners turned to a land tract in the Town of Monroe where a group is seeking approval to open a new cemetery, adjacent to the graveyard where Satmar founder Joel Teitelbaum was buried 30 years ago.
There in a clearing on Raywood Drive, following a large funeral in Kiryas Joel, men in black suits and hats dug a grave and lowered Perlstein’s casket into the ground. A dedication ceremony had been held at the burial site earlier in the day.
The conflict provided the latest flashpoint in an incessant struggle between feuding partisans of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum and his brother, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, each of whom is regarded by his followers as the grand rebbe, or supreme leader, of the Satmar movement.
State troopers were called to Raywood Drive when boys from Rabbi Aaron’s yeshiva gathered near the cemetery dedication and began chanting and singing, but there appears to have been no violence.
Rabbi Zalman’s supporters expressed outrage that their opponents would set “extortionate” conditions while a mourning family waited to bury Perlstein, a father of nine.
“Of course, we did not want to give into that demand,” said Joseph Waldman, a longtime critic of Kiryas Joel’s ruling faction.
Some of Rabbi Aaron’s followers, meanwhile, questioned the legality of burying someone without a cemetery permit.
The application for a cemetery on Raywood Drive went before the Monroe Planning Board for the first time a week earlier, but no decision was rendered.
Richard Mahon II, the attorney representing Rabbi Aaron’s side in the cemetery lawsuit in state Supreme Court, couldn’t be reached Friday to discuss why the requested burial in Kiryas Joel was refused.
Rabbi Aaron’s supporters say the $50,000 was demanded to cover a burial fee and Perlstein’s membership dues.