Published September 25, 2008
(RNS) An Illinois man has petitioned the state supreme court to weigh in on a clause in his father’s will that disinherits grandchildren who marry non-Jewish spouses.
In a 2-1 decision, a state appeals court on June 30 upheld a lower court ruling that a provision in a will known as the “Jewish clause” was “unenforceable” and “contrary to state policies.”
Before he died in 1986, Max Feinberg stipulated in his will that any grandchild who married a non-Jew would be considered “deceased” for the purposes of his inheritance. The death of his wife in 2003 triggered a series of lawsuits among descendents, all of which ultimately rested on the legal merits of the so-called Jewish clause.
The generational feud pits Max Feinberg’s two children, Michael Feinberg and Leila Taylor, against Michael Feinberg’s daughter, Michele, who opposes the Jewish clause. Taylor’s three children are only nominal participants in the suit and did not appear in court. Only one of the elder Feinberg’s five grandchildren married a Jewish spouse.
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