Congregants in synagogue struggle say decision ignored law

AP News
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Posted: Sep 05, 2017 4:01 PM

BOSTON (AP) — 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.