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<ul><li><p>SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ROCKLAND - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X In the Matter of the Application of: PHILLIP SCHONBERGER concerning the In-ground Burial of the remains of MARTIN MENDELSON, Index No. </p><p>Petitioner, 1612/2015 against, </p><p>HELLMAN MEMORIAL CHAPELS and STEVEN MENDELSON, </p><p>Defendant. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X Trial - Day#1 October 8, 2015 </p><p>Rockland County Courthouse 1 South Main Street </p><p>New City, New York 10956 </p><p>B E F O R E: HON. VICTOR J. ALFIERI Acting Supreme Court Judge </p><p>A P P E A R A N C E S: </p><p> BETH B. FINKELSTEIN, PC Attorney for Petitioner 107 North Main Street New City, New York 10956 </p><p>ALSO BY: FEERICK, LYNCH &amp; MacCARTNEY, PC Attorneys for Petitioner 96 South Broadway South Nyack, New York 10960 </p><p>BY: DENNIS LYNCH, ESQ. </p><p> HOLWELL, SHUSTER &amp; GOLDBERG, LLP Attorneys for Defendant 125 Broad Street, 39th Floor New York, New York 10004 </p><p>BY: BRENDON DeMAY, ESQ. BY: RICHARD HOLWELL, ESQ. </p><p> REPORTED BY: AMBER MALKIE FINER, R.P.R. Senior Court Reporter</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 2</p><p>Schonberger v Hellman </p><p>THE COURT: On the record. </p><p>This is Schonberger versus Hellman Memorial et</p><p>al.</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: Good morning, Judge. </p><p>Beth Finkelstein, Law Office of Beth</p><p>Finkelstein, 107 North Main Street, New City, New</p><p>York for Mr. Schonberger, who is to my left. </p><p>MR. LYNCH: Your Honor, Dennis Lynch -</p><p>Feerick, Lynch &amp; MacCartney, 96 South Broadway,</p><p>South Nyack, New York 10960, co-counsel to my</p><p>esteemed counsel here, Beth Finkelstein.</p><p>MR. DeMAY: Good afternoon, Your Honor. </p><p>Brandon DeMay of Holwell, Shuster &amp; Goldberg,</p><p>125 Broad Street, 39th Floor, New York, New York</p><p>10004, for the respondent Steven Mendelson.</p><p>MR. HOLWELL: Richard J. Holwell of Holwell,</p><p>Shuster &amp; Goldberg, 125 Broad Street, for the</p><p>respondent Steven Mendelson.</p><p>THE COURT: Do you need a Notice of Appearance</p><p>for I -- don't think we have one for the Holwell</p><p>firm?</p><p>MR. DeMAY: I submitted it to the clerk an</p><p>hour or so ago.</p><p>THE COURT: All right. We'll see everyone</p><p>back at 2 o'clock.</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 3</p><p>Schonberger v Hellman </p><p>MR. LYNCH: I will not be here at 2:00, but I</p><p>will be here tomorrow.</p><p>(Whereupon, there is a break in the proceeding</p><p>while the Court recessed for lunch.)</p><p>THE COURT: This is Schonberger versus Hellman</p><p>Memorial. We have appearances. </p><p>Please call your first witness.</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: Your Honor, we call Rabbi</p><p>Sholom Sperlin.</p><p>(Whereupon, the witness Sholom Sperlin</p><p>ascended the witness stand.)</p><p>THE COURT: Good afternoon.</p><p>SHOLOM SPERLIN, having been first duly affirmed, was</p><p>examined and testified as follows:</p><p>COURT OFFICER: Have a seat. Get comfortable</p><p>with the microphone.</p><p>Give your name and address for the record.</p><p>THE WITNESS: Sholom Sperlin. </p><p>THE COURT: Your address, sir?</p><p>THE WITNESS: 487 New Hempstead Road, New</p><p>City.</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: Good afternoon, Rabbi.</p><p>THE COURT: Wait one second. </p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 4</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>Sir, you're close to the microphone. That's</p><p>good. </p><p>Keep your voice up so everyone can hear you. </p><p>If an objection is made to a question, please</p><p>don't make an answer until I've had an opportunity</p><p>to rule on the objection. </p><p>If you're not sure, just ask and I'll advise</p><p>you whether you can go ahead.</p><p>If you don't understand a question, indicate</p><p>that. I'll have it clarified for you in some way. </p><p>Please allow the attorneys to finish asking</p><p>their question before you start making your answer.</p><p>I'll advise them, likewise, to allow you to finish</p><p>your answer before they ask their next question. </p><p>Okay. Go right ahead.</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: Thank you, Your Honor. </p><p>DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MS. FINKELSTEIN: </p><p>Q. Good afternoon, Rabbi. </p><p>Rabbi, can you tell us where you attended</p><p>rabbinical school?</p><p>A. Morristown, New Jersey in 1972/1973.</p><p>Q. And are you familiar with the Evergreen Court</p><p>Residence for Adults?</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 5</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>A. Yes, I worked there for three years.</p><p>Q. What three years was that, sir?</p><p>A. From 2004 at September through 2007.</p><p>Q. And in what capacity did you work for the</p><p>Evergreen home?</p><p>A. Being the rabbi, performing all the religious</p><p>services needed. </p><p>Q. Now during that time period of 2004 to 2007, can</p><p>you describe those religious services that you</p><p>provided to the Evergreen residents?</p><p>A. Yes. </p><p>Every Friday night we gathered all the Jewish</p><p>people, who wanted to attend the services, for about</p><p>45 minutes. Before that we used to light candles</p><p>with the ladies. And in the morning, for about an</p><p>hour and a half, we used to have services.</p><p>Q. When you say in the morning, are you referring to</p><p>Shabbos services Saturday morning?</p><p>A. Shabbos and all religious holidays.</p><p>Q. So let me first discuss. So, you said it -- was</p><p>it every Friday night that you had these services for</p><p>45 minutes?</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. That occurred during the entire period you were</p><p>employed there, from September of '04 to 2007?</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 6</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. And did part of that service include reading from</p><p>the Torah?</p><p>A. Yes. In the morning we used to read from the</p><p>Torah and at night it was only from the prayer book.</p><p>Q. Was there a special location within the Evergreen</p><p>home where these services took place?</p><p>A. Yeah, there was a special room that had a Jewish</p><p>ark for the Torahs. And we kept all the prayer books</p><p>there. And that was the room that we used to do the</p><p>service. </p><p>Q. And these prayer books were provided to those</p><p>residents that attended these services?</p><p>A. Yes, I used to give them out.</p><p>Q. Now you said you performed -- we're going to go</p><p>back a little bit. I want to know the other</p><p>additional services, religious services you provided</p><p>to the Evergreen residents during that time period,</p><p>other than the Friday and Saturday services?</p><p>A. It was on Channukah - on Hannukah - we used to</p><p>light the candles eight -- eight evenings. We used</p><p>to gather the people around the menorah. Some of</p><p>them lit by themselves. Some of them just observed</p><p>and watched.</p><p>Q. Now with the lighting of the candles, did you</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 7</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>include the residents in this participation in these</p><p>lightings?</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. How would you do so?</p><p>A. I used to give them the candle. They used to</p><p>light. We had several menorahs, 10 or 15, and</p><p>whoever wished to light used to light.</p><p>Q. So they would volunteer to light the candles?</p><p>A. Yes. I would ask them and they said they want to</p><p>and they --</p><p>Q. And as they would light the candles would there</p><p>be any special prayer that they would recite as they</p><p>light?</p><p>A. Yes, there's a blessing you say before and a</p><p>little song we sing afterwards.</p><p>Q. Now, other than the Hannukah holidays, what other</p><p>holidays did you provide --</p><p>A. There is Pass --</p><p>Q. Let me just finish the question, because she</p><p>can't report both of us at the same time and I talk</p><p>quick enough already. </p><p>THE COURT: Yeah, slow down a little bit.</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: I know, Your Honor. I</p><p>apologize.</p><p>Q. So other than the Hannukah holiday, what other</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 8</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>holidays did you provide services for the residents?</p><p>A. There is Passover.</p><p>Q. And what did that consist of?</p><p>A. Making a seder.</p><p>Q. And what is a seder, sir?</p><p>A. A seder is, there are certain things we have to</p><p>do the night of the seder to memorialize the exile of</p><p>the Jewish people of Egypt. And we eat Matzah. And</p><p>we drink some grape juice. We --</p><p>Q. If I just may interrupt. </p><p>The seders -- how many nights is Passover?</p><p>A. Passover is eight days, but the seders are only</p><p>two times, the first two nights, the first two</p><p>evenings.</p><p>Q. So you would offer the seder services for the</p><p>first two evenings of Passover?</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. And how would the residents know whether or not</p><p>to attend?</p><p>A. There used to be a notification that the seder</p><p>will take place at this and this time. A matter of</p><p>fact, the seder, the whole dining room was</p><p>participating, every single one.</p><p>Q. How about with regard to the prayers that were</p><p>offered during the course of seder, would the whole</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 9</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>dining room do it is or just certain members? </p><p>A. Well, obviously, I used to give it to the people</p><p>that could read from the Haggadah. We had it in</p><p>English. So, some of the Jewish people used to read</p><p>it.</p><p>Q. Now, in addition to Passover, what other</p><p>holidays, religious holidays did you provide services</p><p>to the residents?</p><p>A. Seven weeks after Passover, there is another</p><p>holiday. That's when the Torah was given to us.</p><p>That's a two-day holiday.</p><p>Q. And what is that called, sir?</p><p>A. Shavuot.</p><p>Q. And what did you do for the residents of</p><p>Evergreen? </p><p>A. Basically the same that we do Saturday. We do</p><p>the prayers, read the Torah.</p><p>Q. And would this also involve the participation of</p><p>the residents in the reading and prayers? </p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. Now what other holidays did you provide services</p><p>to the residents?</p><p>A. After that comes Rosh Hashana, which is the</p><p>Jewish new year.</p><p>Q. And what did do for the new year?</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 10</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>A. Well, the main theme of the day is blowing of</p><p>shofer, but it also includes many prayers, more than</p><p>the average Saturday or --</p><p>Q. And how long would that service typically take?</p><p>A. Close to two hours.</p><p>Q. Once again, would the residents participate in</p><p>this service?</p><p>A. Yes, they would come all to the room and sit</p><p>down. And I used to give them the prayer books. And</p><p>we used to pray together nicely.</p><p>Q. When you say you prayed together, there are</p><p>certain portions of the service they have to recite</p><p>aloud?</p><p>A. Yes. I used to make sure to take them all into</p><p>the service and I used to give everyone a piece to</p><p>say.</p><p>Q. And there were certain readings that the</p><p>participants read from?</p><p>A. Yes, from the prayer book.</p><p>Q. And how about songs, were there any specific</p><p>songs also recited?</p><p>A. Part of the prayers which would go along with a</p><p>song, I would try to do it with a song, just to make</p><p>the people feel more excited.</p><p>Q. Now on this holiday Rosh Hashana, is there a two</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 11</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>part service or just one part?</p><p>A. Well, there is part -- we do the this as part of</p><p>the service, and then goes the reading of the Torah</p><p>and the blowing of the shofer. And in the afternoon,</p><p>another 45 minutes, we do another prayer. And that</p><p>is done both days the same thing.</p><p>Q. Any other holidays which you also provide</p><p>services to the residents?</p><p>A. Yes. On Yom Kippur, which is the Day of</p><p>Atonement. And then we -- as a matter of fact, I</p><p>used to sleep over that night, because I did service</p><p>at night and in the morning.</p><p>Q. And what did that service consist of?</p><p>A. Basically it's prayers, because you can't eat.</p><p>So the theme of day is just to fast and to do the</p><p>prayers.</p><p>Q. How long did this fast take? </p><p>A. It takes 24 hours.</p><p>Q. And is there a special service at the conclusion</p><p>of 24 hours?</p><p>A. A blowing of the shofer for about 15 seconds.</p><p>Q. Other than those holidays, are there any other</p><p>holidays -- </p><p>A. Yes. </p><p>Q. -- in which you provide services to the residents</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 12</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>of Evergreen?</p><p>A. Yeah. The following holiday is Succos, which we</p><p>just had last week. That is building the Succah, a</p><p>little -- a little hut from wood. And that was in</p><p>the front of the building. And we used to call in</p><p>the people to eat something in the Succah and also to</p><p>shake the lulov. You take like a palm tree and some</p><p>kind of citrus lemon and you shake. It's a symbol of</p><p>thanking God for all the good that he did for us.</p><p>Q. So you said you built -- it would be a succah</p><p>that was built and then they would eat in the succah?</p><p>A. Whoever wished to come in, we used to bring into</p><p>the succah and give them to eat, especially the men.</p><p>Q. And other than that holiday, any other holidays</p><p>in which you provided services to the residents?</p><p>A. According to the yearly round, I just went</p><p>through the whole year.</p><p>Q. Now, sir, are you -- were you familiar --</p><p>THE COURT: What about Simchat Torah?</p><p>THE WITNESS: That's the last days of Succot</p><p>is called Simchas Torah.</p><p>THE COURT: So that's one and the same</p><p>holiday? </p><p>THE WITNESS: Yes, it's nine days. The last</p><p>two days are -- have a different name.</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 13</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>THE COURT: Thank you.</p><p>Q. And are there special services for Simchat Torah?</p><p>A. Yes. We take the Torah, we dance, because we're</p><p>happy that we have a very special routine in our</p><p>lives.</p><p>Q. And what about Purim, do you provide any services</p><p>for the residents during the holiday of Purim?</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. What do you do for them?</p><p>A. On Purim we read the megillah, that's the whole</p><p>story that happened back then in Iran and the saving</p><p>of the people, Jewish people.</p><p>Q. When you say we -- when you say we, would you</p><p>read together with the residents? </p><p>A. No, that's something that one reads and everyone</p><p>has a prayer book and makes sure to listen to every</p><p>word.</p><p>Q. Now are you familiar -- were you familiar, during</p><p>your employment at the Evergreen, with a resident by</p><p>the name Martin Mendelson?</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: I'm just going to ask that</p><p>following four by six photograph be marked for</p><p>identification, I guess, as 1. </p><p>THE COURT: Number 1.</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 14</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: I have provided copies. I</p><p>believe you got copies in the packet I provided.</p><p>Prior, Your Honor, I provided copies to</p><p>Respondents. </p><p>(Whereupon, a photograph was marked</p><p>Plaintiff's Exhibit 1 for identification.) </p><p>THE COURT OFFICER: Show the witness?</p><p>MS. FINKELSTEIN: With the Court's permission,</p><p>yes.</p><p>(Whereupon, the witness looked at a</p><p>photograph.)</p><p>Q. Rabbi, do you recognize the individual that's</p><p>depicted in that photograph.</p><p>A. One hundred percent. </p><p>Q. Who do you recognize that to be?</p><p>A. Mr. Mendelson, Martin Mendelson.</p><p>Q. And how do you recognize Martin Mendelson? How</p><p>do you know him?</p><p>A. He used to come Friday night to the services. I</p><p>remember exactly where he used to sit, in the back of</p><p>the shul, towards the back, a few rows behind.</p><p>Q. And so he would attend that 45-minute service</p><p>that you offer on Friday nights?</p><p>A. Yes.</p><p>Q. Okay. What about that service you offer, which</p><p> 1</p><p> 2</p><p> 3</p><p> 4</p><p> 5</p><p> 6</p><p> 7</p><p> 8</p><p> 9</p><p>1 0</p><p>1 1</p><p>1 2</p><p>1 3</p><p>1 4</p><p>1 5</p><p>1 6</p><p>1 7</p><p>1 8</p><p>1 9</p><p>2 0</p><p>2 1</p><p>2 2</p><p>2 3</p><p>2 4</p><p>2 5</p></li><li><p> 15</p><p>Direct - Sperlin - Finkelstein</p><p>is approximately an hour and a half, on Saturday</p><p>mornings?</p><p>A. He used to come then in the morning as well.</p><p>Q. And

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