Above: May Peleg
Court Rules Transgendered Ex-Haredi Woman Can Be Cremated
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Jerusalem District Court has rejected a petition filed by the estranged haredi family of a transgendered woman, May Peleg, to block Peleg’s cremation, Ha’aretz reported.
One day before her suicide this past weekend, Peleg wrote a legal will and filed an affidavit specifying that she wanted to be cremated and did not want her estranged family to have any say in her funerary rites.
"In the dispute between the sides, I came to the conclusion that sufficient grounds exist to rule that the desire of the deceased was that her body be cremated and that the claim that her capacity to make that decision was diminished was unfounded," the Judge Aharon Darnel reportedly wrote today in his ruling.
"I do not see any validity in the mother's claim that the deceased's wishes should not be honored after her death and that the parent's wishes should supersede them," Darnel wrote. "That argument has no basis in Israeli law, while honoring the wishes of the dead, whether assumed of explicit, is recognized as an important principle in legislation and rulings.… It has been proved that the deceased's free and full intention was that her body be cremated and not buried.…I do not believe that the clear and explicit wishes of the deceased can be overturned by an argument about the good of the children.…Though it is possible to understand the desire of the mother and the family for a Jewish burial, the question is not what is the best or preferred solution, but what the deceased wanted and whether there is any illegality or contradiction to the principle that the deceased's wishes should be respected. Those [illegalities or contradictions] do not exist,” Darnel ruled.
Darnel stayed the execution of his ruling until Sunday to give Peleg’s estranged family time to appeal to the High Court of Justice.
Peleg, 31, wrote that she wanted most of her ashes scattered at sea and the rest to be buried under a tree planted in her memory.
“Since I have no contact with my biological family and since I fear that after my death there will be those who try to obstruct my final wish to be cremated, using various arguments, I ask you to represent me in court and be my voice,” Peleg wrote to Yossi Wolfson, the attorney who represented her after her death.
Peleg also wrote that her mother was hostile and vindictive and besides absenting herself from Peleg’s life for many years had never been supportive before that.