A Syosset woman improperly withheld from her son the $5,000 bar mitzvah gift that the youth's maternal grandmother had meant for him, a Nassau County judge has ruled.
Jordan Zeidman, now 20, sued his estranged mother, Shirley Zeidman, 54, last year in First District Court in Hempstead, and Judge Scott Fairgrieve ruled in his favor Tuesday, ordering her to pay the $5,000.
Jordan Zeidman testified that his maternal grandmother attended his bar mitzvah in 2007 and told him that she was going to give him $5,000 for his "religious achievement," the judge's ruling said.
The grandmother, Rachel Steinfeld, testified that she did not give $5,000 to her grandson, nor did she give money to her daughter to give to her grandson, the ruling said.
"However, the grandmother admitted to giving $5,000 gifts, either in cash or check form, to the plaintiff's siblings for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs," the judge wrote.
Also, Jordan Zeidman produced at trial a document from 2006, which had a handwritten note saying: "I owe Jordan $190.00 + $5,000 from Baba," the ruling said.
The grandmother testified that her family often calls her "Baba," the judge said.
The mother's attorney, Jeffrey Schecter of Garden City, said he was considering an appeal. "I don't think the judge's decision was supported by the facts that were presented at trial," he said.
Schecter also represents Shirley Zeidman in her divorce case, which was finalized in 1997, reopened in 2008 and finalized again earlier this year, court documents show.
The son was represented by attorney Steven Cohn of Carle Place, who was also involved in the litigation between the parents, court records show.
Cohn said he did not represent the husband in the matrimonial itself, only in a post-divorce action under the same court document number that involved a dispute over the pending sale of the family home in Syosset.
Jordan had moved out of his mother's house in October 2007 "because of their uneasy relationship. . . . [They] have been estranged ever since," the judge wrote.
Neither the mother nor the grandmother had been invited to the bar mitzvah that same month, but "crashed" the event and were not asked to leave, the ruling said.