Nargis Malayev’s Story
In the spring of 2020, when the whole world was hit by a global pandemic, in this monstrous time, our community lost dozens of people daily. On April 3, the Pinkhasov family was completely orphaned, having lost their mother, Chorman Pinkhasova, on that day. On April 5, at the time of the funeral, the heartbroken Chorman children were not even allowed near their mother’s body for identification, even to say a final goodbye. It seemed that everything bad that could have happened on that day had already occurred. But having approached the freshly dug grave of the deceased, the children in bewilderment discover the head stone of their father’s grave tilted and tied with ropes.
When the family questioned, “What happened?” the cemetery workers replied, “Don’t worry, we’ll fix it.” Having buried their mother and with no further strength for any proceedings, the sons of the deceased left hefty tips with five cemetery workers and had the confidence that conditions would improve as promised. After some time, the family returned to visit the graves of their parents, and the children discovered that nothing had been fixed and, moreover, the grave of their father had collapsed and shattered!
Not only did the cemetery workers fail to keep their promises to fix the monument, but they also did not even bother to contact the family to report the incident. After long disputes and proceedings with the administration of the cemetery, having again experienced great stress, the family had no other choice but to pay the full cost for a new monument and its installation.
Larisa Sabzanova’s Story
The Zavulunov family was yet another family that lost their mother in the unfortunate events of April 2020. On April 24, 2020, Burkha Zavalunov passed away. The next day, the family gathered at the Mount Carmel Cemetery for the funeral of their mother and her burial beside her husband z”l, Boris Zavulunov, who passed eight years earlier.
When the funeral procession approached the grave, they saw that their mother’s grave was being casually dug out by a backhoe, while it was clear that the backhoe bucket was literally destroying their father’s grave by recklessly hitting the base of the foundation. A grandson of the deceased tried to stop the workers by shouting: “Stop! You are breaking my grandfather’s grave!” As a result, a cemetery worker approached him and said rudely, “Nothing terrible is happening and this is standard procedure.” With these words, the cemetery worker demanded that the family move away, not allowing them to stay for further funeral procedures. The cemetery workers themselves lowered the coffin into the grave and buried it using the same monstrous backhoe.
Everything happened like a nightmare. Their mother, who dedicated her whole life to her children and was the dearest person in the world to them, was not allowed to fulfill their final duty in totality. Moreover, the cemetery workers desecrated their father’s grave by razing it to the ground. How can this happen in the 21st century, in the United States of America? How?
But this was not the end, as the worst was yet to come. The foundation of their father’s grave was all broken and went down, taking the broken pieces of the monument underground. Huge, deep holes formed around the grave. For six months, the cemetery administration did not allow the family not only to fix the grave but not even to cover the holes around the grave in any way in order to avoid rainwater from entering the burial site. The cemetery stated that the insurance company was investigating, while placing blame on the funeral home for ordering a low-quality concrete vault. In response, the funeral home blamed the cemetery for causing damage to the grave while digging a new grave with a backhoe, damaging the concrete vault and foundation.
For six months, the family was not allowed to fix the father’s grave until the intervention of ABCN. Under pressure, the cemetery administration allowed the family to order a new monument, on the condition that the family would cover all the expenses and the body of the deceased would be disinterred and reburied in a new concrete vault. ABCN leadership tried to object, explaining that disinterment is in complete contradiction with Jewish ritual laws, and even provided the cemetery with an alternative option for fixing the grave that did not require disinterment of the body. But the cemetery administration did not want to listen. Without an option and in complete desperation, the family gave their consent to the reburial. On the appointed day, the family gathered for the reburial procedure at the grave of their parents.
Every person dreads the time when he will have to bury his/her parents. But no one should have to imagine having to go through the process of burying a parent twice. Unfortunately, the Zavulunov family had to go through a very traumatic and horrific experience, seeing their father’s remains removed from the broken, destroyed box and placed in a new one.