Archive: 12/31/2012
Daily Israel Report
21:32
Reported

News Brief

  12/31/2012, Tevet 18, 5773

Suit Pits Oldest Synagogue Against First Congregation


A dispute has erupted between leaders of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., the U.S.'s oldest synagogue, and Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City, the country's first Jewish congregation, over the ownership of a set of 18th century Torah bells worth millions of dollars. 

The synagogue agreed to sell the centuries old Torah ornaments for $7.4 million to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts so they can set up an endowment to handle maintenance and upkeep for the 250-year-old synagogue.

However, leaders of the NYC congregation, a trustee of the Newport synagogue, object to selling the bells to a museum. 

Both sides have sued for control of the ornaments. A federal judge in Providence is scheduled to hold a settlement conference Thursday.