Congregations fight in court for ownership of historic Rhode Island synagogue

By REUTERS
June 8, 2015 22:55

 
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A long-running dispute over the ownership of the oldest US synagogue played out in court on Monday as leaders of the New York congregation that holds the deed to the historic Rhode Island house of worship said they were horrified that local congregants had tried to sell valuable religious artifacts.

Congregants of the Tuoro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, founded in 1763, have defended their attempt to sell bells with an estimated worth of $7.4 million, saying the money was needed to maintain the historic two-story building.

A civil trial that began last week at US District Court in Providence, Rhode Island, has set New York's Congregation Shearith Israel, which holds the deed to the Tuoro Synagogue, against Newport's Congregation Jeshuat Israel in a battle for ownership.

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