A daughter is suing a Jewish funeral home after they buried her mother in the wrong cemetery – next to a complete stranger – and dressed in different women’s clothes.
The shocking discovery was made during the October 5, 2020 service at Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels in Ocean Township, New Jersey, leaving mourners absolutely shocked when a woman in her 90s nearly passed out.
Janet Kay passed away on October 3, 2020 at the age of 82 after a long illness. Her daughter, Robin Kay Lord, is now suing the funeral home for the botched job, which she told DailyMail.com left her traumatized.
“It’s unbearable. It’s recklessness and total disregard for the dead,’ said Lord.
She waited nearly two years to press charges in hopes that the funeral home would take responsibility, but she said the family’s requests were ignored. “We often tried to have reasonable discussions with them, but they never wanted to respond,” she said.
The one time their attorney reached out to someone from Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels, they responded, “We paid for lunch…what more could you want us to do?”
That was the last straw for Lord, who decided to go ahead and file the civil suit.
According to Lord, who is also a criminal defense attorney, in New Jersey it is up to the jury to assess how much money the complainant owes, and said she hopes that happens sooner rather than later.
“I want them to be responsible so that another family doesn’t have to go through this,” she told DailyMail.com.
Janet Kay, 82, died on October 3, 2020 after a long illness. Robin Kay Lord, the daughter of the deceased woman, is now suing the funeral home for the botched job, which she told DailyMail.com left her traumatized.
Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels in Manalapan, New Jersey, is a funeral home within the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral and burial service providers. The funeral home claims on their website that ‘when you choose us for your funeral needs, you will receive not only the loving care you expect from a locally operated facility, but also the value you deserve’
Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Funeral Chapel in Manalapan, New Jersey, is a member of the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral and cemeteries service providers.
According to its website, all of her services are “designed to help you through one of the most personal and challenging stages of life.”
“We are committed to working one-on-one with you to plan your loved one’s memorial in accordance with the funeral and burial customs that are important to you.”
The funeral chapel did not return a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
According to Lord, when her mother died, a funeral home worker came to her New Jersey home to collect her mother’s body and the clothes she had requested to dress her before she was buried.
Lord said she gave the person a purple pantsuit and a long gold necklace that her mother always wore. She said she also gave them a Sharpie to write her mother’s name on the outside of the bag that contained her personal belongings.
“I remember specifically telling them to make sure she was wearing the clothes I gave them because if we opened the coffin and she was wearing someone else’s clothes, it would be a complete nightmare.”
Lord said the employee ‘assured’ her that they would ‘treat my mother with dignity and that the clothes would be put on her after the traditional ‘tahara’ [an ancient Jewish ritual of washing the body of a deceased person before they are buried].
According to tradition, a Jewish funeral usually takes place within one day of the date of death.
Lord had expected the funeral home to follow the custom, but instead the funeral home told her they wouldn’t be able to bury her mother until two days later, the date was October 5.
On that day, the family held a funeral for Kay and about sixty people gathered to say their final goodbyes.
As they waited for the service to begin, Lord became concerned when her mother’s body did not arrive,
She said the mourners and the rabbi waited for the coffin in the cemetery for nearly half an hour. When she called the funeral home to ask where her mother was, she heard the terrible news.
“They stuttered and stuttered,” she recalled. “I told them to stop and tell me where my mother is.”
She said the funeral home was facetimeing her and then she saw a strange woman in a coffin wearing her mother’s purple suit, the long gold necklace she always wore, and her mother’s wedding ring.
Lord was beside himself and said she almost fell to the ground. ‘I yelled, ‘What have you done to her? Where is my mother?’ she asked them. “Then they told me they had no idea where she was.”
Lord said she didn’t have to announce what had happened to her mother because all the mourners who attended the funeral “heard her screaming.”
She said the rabbi continued the service, but the service was held without her mother’s body.
Later that day, she learned that her mother had been buried in another Jewish cemetery in North Jersey in a grave next to a complete stranger during a Jewish holy holiday.
She also learned the shocking news that her mother was wearing someone else’s clothes and someone else’s wedding ring.
The grieving daughter later learned that the bodies had been mixed up because her mother died on the same day as another woman who was ready for burial at the same time.
“They did laundry together and then their bodies were switched,” she said. “Amazing, just unthinkable.”
Lord told DailyMail.com that the funeral home had lied to her and told her that her mother could not be buried on October 4, the day after her death.
But on October 4, she was buried in the wrong grave and cemetery.
To correct the messed up situation, Kay’s body had to be exhumed and her daughter had to identify her decomposing body. “My mother’s body has not been treated properly.”
Lord added that her mother would never leave the house without lipstick on and was devastated to see her mother’s lipstick ‘all over her mouth’ as she looked at the body.
“Looks like a five-year-old had put it on,” she said.
Lord, who is still grieving the deep loss, said she put her faith and trust in the funeral home to ‘do the right thing’ and take good care of his loved one and not her.”
On October 8, the family held a private ceremony and Lord’s mother was placed in a mausoleum near a comet in Marlboro, New Jersey, which was now her final resting place.