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Rabbis Re-Consecrate Menorah Gardens

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SOUTHWEST RANCHES (CBS4) – One of two South Florida cemeteries accused of tampering with hundreds of graves was rededicated on Thursday.

Rabbis recited psalms and said Jewish prayers during the re-consecration ceremony at Menorah Gardens in Southwest Ranches. The re-consecration comes nearly eight years after several families sued Service Corporation International, the company which owns the cemeteries, for allegedly allowing its workers to move hundreds of bodies to make room for new ones.

The families claimed not only were the bodies of their loved ones moved, but people were buried in the wrong place, bodies were stacked on top of each other and some vaults had been opened with a backhoe and their contents; skulls, bones and shrouds had been thrown into some nearby woods.

In 2007, the company settled with families and admitted that employees tampered with the graves. They were ordered to pay $14 million to the families and repair plots, and reorganized their cemeteries in Southwest Ranches and Palm Beach County, so that all graves were marked properly and plots sold can be accommodated on the grounds.

In 2008, the cemetery in Palm Beach County was re-consecrated and renamed Star of David Cemetery and Funeral Chapel of the Palm Beaches.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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