Congregants in synagogue struggle say decision ignored law
Posted September 5
BOSTON — Congregants who worship at the nation's oldest synagogue in Rhode Island are asking an appeals court to reconsider a decision that gave control of the building to a congregation in New York City.
Lawyers for the Newport congregation on Tuesday asked the federal appeals court in Boston for a rehearing, saying the decision ignored Rhode Island law and made several constitutional errors.
A three-judge panel last month found that New York's Congregation Shearith Israel, the nation's oldest Jewish congregation, owns Touro Synagogue. Touro was dedicated in 1763 and is a national historic site.
A Shearith Israel lawyer says the unanimous opinion of the panel was well-reasoned and the litigation was meritless.
The congregations have been fighting for years over Touro and a set of Colonial-era bells valued at $7.4 million.