A serious error occurred in the Mount Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem this week when a man was mistakenly buried instead of another. The mistake was discovered only several hours after the burial. The body was exhumed and the distraught family held a second funeral.
The two deceased men died on Monday at the Bikur Holim hospital – one haredi and the other secular. Some of the secular man's family members were overseas at the time and his funeral was thus postponed for the following day. The haredi family decided to bury the man on the same day he died.
One of the Jerusalem branchs of Chevra Kadisha handled one of the bodies from the hospital discharge stage until the burial. All was going according to plan until the secular man's family arrived to ID their loved one and were shocked to find an entirely different person.
The unfortunate mistake was soon discovered and the haredi family was informed of the blunder. On Tuesday night the body was pulled out of the grave and returned to the hospital and the haredi man was buried instead.
Members of Chevra Kadisha said that the first deceased man to be buried was ID'd by the haredi family prior to the burial. They added that both men were not in any way similar in appearance. "One was huge and one slender, one with a haredi appearance and one secular looking," one source said. They are yet unclear how the error occured.
Chevra Kadisha director Rabbi Shlomo Ben Ezra told Ynet this was a highly unusual event which he had never encountered before. He added that due to the sensitivity of the circumstances he is not pointing fingers at any specific individual and promised to probe the matter.
No comment was received from the Bikur Holim Hospital. The report was first published in "Kol Haredi."
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