The body of a 105-year-old woman has been kept in cold storage at a funeral home in New York because a relative refuses to let her be cremated, officials said.
Ethel Baar died in September and in her 1999 will said she wished to be cremated, but a grandnephew has blocked the procedure, saying the Jewish religion prohibits cremation, the New York Daily News reported.
"He objected based on religious grounds to the proposed cremation, arguing that the Jewish religion forbids cremation," funeral home lawyer Peter Shapiro said in court documents.
The grandnephew, James Pollock, lives in Israel and was the only relative to object to Baar's cremation; his actions have angered other family members.
"I know from all my conversations with her that she had no feelings for orthodoxy," her cousin William Wolf told the Daily News. "She was not a religious person at all and her desire was just that she be cremated."
The childless widow's body is showing signs of decomposition, the newspaper said.
"Ms. Baar's remains are not embalmed, and have been maintained in a refrigeration unit for a prolonged time period," Shapiro wrote in court papers. "The passage of time has an inevitable impact on the remains."
The Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel has asked a judge to intervene in the incident.
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