Latest Louis Solomon News
Aug 3, 2017
"Congregation Shearith Israel is gratified by the First Circuit's unanimous decision reaffirming our lawful, outright ownership of Newport's Touro Synagogue and the precious rimonim at issue here," said attorney Louis Solomon. An attorney for the Newport congregation said he was disappointed with the panel's ruling. "We are reviewing our legal options on behalf of the Touro Synagogue and Jeshuat Israel, the Congregation that has prayed there for over a century," attorney Gary Naftalis said. Touro Synagogue holds an important place in the history of the nation's commitment to religious liberty. In 1790, George Washington visited Touro, and then sent a letter to the congregation pledging America's commitment to religious liberty. The synagogue, dedicated in 1763 , is a national historic site that draws thousands of visitors each year. By 1820, all of the Jews had left Newport, and Congregation Shearith Israel became trustee of Touro. It was reopened later that century as Jews began to move back to the city. The dispute over ownership began when the Newport congregation, which was struggling with money, formed a plan to establish an endowment by selling the bells to the Museum of Fine Arts. The New York congregation objected, arguing that the sale would violate religious law and would be akin to selling a "birthright."