Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bricks and Mortar, Silver and Gold

When I glanced at the brief first paragraph of Unitted States District Judge John H McConnell, Jr.'s decision, I thought I was reading the Declaration of Independence.  And it was for Congregation Jeshuat Israel! Here are the first two paragraphs. As Hillel said, "the rest is commentary."  If you a glutton for punishment the complete document is at Touro Decision.

     "Bricks and mortar of a temple, and silver and gold of religious ornaments, may appear to be at the center of the dispute between the two parties in this case, but such a conclusion would be myopic. The central issue here is the legacy of some of the earliest Jewish settlers in North America, who desired to make Newport a permanent haven for public Jewish worship. Fidelity to their purpose guides the Court in resolving the matters now before it.  
     After a thorough and exhaustive review of the evidence, determination of thedisputed facts, and application of the relevant law, this Court concludes that 1) Touro Synagogue is owned in charitable trust for the purpose of preserving a permanent place of public Jewish worship; 2) the pair of Myer Myers Rimonim previously owned by Newport's earliest Jews is now owned by Congregation Jeshuat Israel, which is free to do with its property as it wishes; 3) Congregation Shearith Israel of New York should be removed as trustee of Touro Synagogue; and 4) Congregation Jeshuat Israel of Newport should be appointed as the new trustee. " 

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