RIO DE JANEIRO — An Israeli man whose exhumed remains were found in a plastic bag in Brazil was given a proper Jewish funeral.
Carlos Ginsberg was buried seven years ago in a non-Jewish cemetery, but his remains were later exhumed to make way for another body with a new headstone. His body was then stored in a blue plastic bag labeled with his name.
Under Brazilian law, a body buried at a public cemetery can be exhumed after seven years with the remains moved to a different location, freeing up the grave for another body.
The discovery of the body was made two weeks ago when Ginsberg’s brother visited the grave in Sao Paulo, the Hebrew-language news website B’Chadrei Chareidim reported.
Rabbi Yisroel Meir Riani, head of B’Noam, an organization dealing with religious issues of this kind, said that Ginsberg’s Israel-based son then received a call from his uncle, who was devastated to discover that his brother was no longer in his final resting place.
Ginsberg, who had emigrated from Israel to Brazil, had difficulty making ends meet and none of his family members, all of whom are traditional Jews, had the funds to pay for a religious burial.
“When Carlos Ginsberg died, his brother did not have money to pay the chevra kadisha (Jewish burial society) to bury him in the Jewish cemetery so he decided to bury him elsewhere,” said Riani. “He was not familiar with the Brazilian law that allows them to dig up the body after seven years.”
Efforts by the family to have Ginsberg’s remains transported to Israel were unsuccessful because the death had taken place too long ago, despite intervention by Israel’s Minister of Religious Affairs David Azoulay.
Riani told B’Chadrei Chareidim that Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, a Jewish man heavily involved in charitable work in Brazil, offered his help and “after a week of intense work, we were able to convince the chevra kadisha” to bury Ginsberg in the Jewish cemetery.
Several dozen people turned out for Ginsberg’s funeral last Friday.