Settlement reached in Jewish cemetery dispute

NEW LONDON, Conn. — A Connecticut woman has agreed to settle her lawsuit against her Jewish congregation over the burial of a black woman in the synagogue’s cemetery.

Maria Balaban’s attorney said he and a lawyer for Congregation Ahavath Achim in Colchester have reached a tentative agreement. The terms were not disclosed.

Balaban sued over the burial of Juliet Steer in 2010, saying the synagogue broke its own rules against burial of non-Jews at the cemetery. Others said Steer was buried in a section reserved for non-Jews. Balaban wanted Steer’s body exhumed and relocated, but later dropped that request.

A congregation lawyer, who did not immediately return a message for comment Wednesday, had said in court documents that Balaban was only suing because Steer was black. Balaban’s lawyer said race was never a factor.

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