Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eden Cemetery Accused of Desecration

Groucho Marx's Grave

Eden Memorial Park is a beautiful hillside cemetery with a fantastic view of the San Fernando Valley. My wife's grandparents rest there under shady trees absorbing whatever breezes the valley affords. My two favorite comedians are buried at Eden. GROUCHO MARX's ashes sit in a small crypt inside a mausoleum. LENNY BRUCE's body decays under the ground in a hillside plot. I hope this turns out to be a false accusation. Eden looks like a first class place to spend eternity...if you like the valley.

Lenny Bruce's Grave


Eden Memorial Park isn’t L.A.‘s biggest Jewish cemetery, but it’s up there. And this week it was dragged into Los Angeles County Superior Court, accused of desecrating the final resting places of 500 Jews:

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who filed the suit, told CNN that his investigation revealed that as many as 500 graves may have been torn up without the families’ permission.

“We allege that Eden Memorial Park and its management for the better part of 15 years were engaging in improper burial practices, including the desecration of graves and the improper disposal of human remains,” he said.

The lawsuit is filed by F. Charles Sands, whose parents are buried at Eden Memorial Park, against the cemetery and its owner, Service Corporation International, based in Houston, Texas. The company is the largest owner of cemeteries and funeral homes in the United States.

This is not the first time Service Corporation International has faced allegations of digging up graves and moving bodies to make room for new remains. It reached a $100 million settlement with families of people whose remains were desecrated at Menorah Gardens in Florida. The company also reached a $14 million settlement with the Florida state attorney’s office over issues related to those claims.

The CNN report goes on to mention that Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce are buried at Eden, but somehow offers no perspective on Jewish burial customs. It closes with a quote from the lawsuit that states “the deceased are typically required to be interred within 24 hours, thereby leaving little time to obtain consent to move an encroaching vault in an adjacent plot and giving defendants a motive to desecrate human remains and commit other immoral acts rather than comply with the law.”

Suffice to say, disturbing the dead is not kosher. Baruch dayan emet.

Posted by Brad A. Greenberg at Jewish




Eden Memorial Park is a welcoming sanctuary situated in lovely Mission Hills, California, where it has proudly served the Jewish community throughout the area since 1954. This lushly landscaped cemetery, owned by the Dignity Memorial Network, offers a dedicated, professional staff to help during the planning of a funeral in the Jewish tradition.

With acres and acres of lovely terraced grounds and gardens, the cemetery is located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley of California, in close proximity to both I-5 and I-405 near Los Angeles.

The beautiful city of Mission Hills surrounds the cemetery, rich in the history of California, and is home to the picturesque Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana.

Mission Hills is also the location of the Andres Pico Adobe, which is known to be the second oldest residence in California. The history of Eden Memorial includes being the final resting place of the world renowned entertainers Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce.

Just a short distance from Los Angeles and the majestic Pacific Ocean, Eden Memorial Park is a secluded, meticulously landscaped cemetery with a caring staff available to assist families and friends in the time-honored traditions and rituals of Jewish funeral practices.

Known for its excellent reputation and relationships with numerous Jewish organizations and synagogues in the Los Angeles area, Eden Memorial Park insures the long-term care and keeping of the cemetery in perpetuity and promises the highest standards of service for all who enter its gates.

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