Testimony ends in fight over oldest US synagogue

By The Associated Press


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Testimony has ended in a bitter fight over control of the nation’s oldest synagogue.

The congregation that worships at the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, and the nation’s first Jewish congregation in New York are suing each other in U.S. District Court in Providence over the synagogue and ceremonial bells worth millions.

Testimony ended Thursday. The matter will be decided by a judge instead of a jury, and closing arguments are scheduled for July 20.

New York‘s Congregation Shearith Israel owns the synagogue, but Congregation Jeshuat Israel says it’s in trust for the Jews of Newport, which they embody.

The fight began when the Newport congregation tried to sell the bells to Boston‘s Museum of Fine Arts for $7.4 million. Both sides claim to own the bells.

© The Associated Press / WLNE-TV 2015