Mediation fails in US dispute over ritual objects
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Mediation fails in US dispute over ritual objects

Two of the country’s oldest synagogues battle over proposed multimillion-dollar sale of Torah adornments

Touro Synagogue and Congregation Shearith Israel are going forward with dueling lawsuits over a set of Torah scroll decorations.

Mediation efforts between leaders of the historic synagogues failed to head off the suit, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Touro, in Newport, RI, had agreed to sell a set of 18th century Torah bells for $7.4 million to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, with the proceeds used to set up an endowment to care for the Touro building and keep a rabbi in residence, according to AP.

Shearith Israel, the New York City congregation that for nearly 200 years has served as the trustee for Touro, is objecting to the sale.

The museum has withdrawn its offer to purchase the bells created by Colonial silversmith Myer Myers, a Jewish contemporary of Paul Revere, until the dispute is resolved.

Shearith Israel was the first US Jewish congregation. Touro is the country’s oldest synagogue building.

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