Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Court Places Control of Historic Touro Synagogue In Hands of Newport, Rhode Island Congregation

Yesterday, in a 106 page opinion in Congregation Jeshuat Israel v. Congregation Shearith Israel(D RI, May 16, 2016), a Rhode Island federal district court held that Newport, Rhode Island's Touro Synagogue is owned in charitable trust for the purpose of preserving a permanent place of Jewish public worship and that the trustee of the synagogue should be Newport's Congregation Jeshuat Israel.  In appointing the local congregation as trustee, the court removed New York's Shearith Israel congregation from that role finding that it had breached its duties.  The court also held that a  pair of historic silver Torah ornaments worth some $7 million previously owned by Newport's early Jewish residents are now owned by the local congregation which is free to sell them to raise funds to keep the synagogue open. New York Times reports on the decision. (See prior related posting.)