Rhode Island’s attorney general is taking no position on who owns a pair of ceremonial bells at Newport’s Touro Synagogue. The bells are the subject on an ongoing court battle.
The lawsuit centers on an ornate pair of silver bells that date to colonial times. Congregation Shearith Israel, which calls Touro Synagogue home, wants to sell the bells to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to raise money. But a congregation in New York is crying foul.
They claim they own the bells, and have no interest in selling.
In a brief filed with the court, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says Touro Synagogue is part of a trust operated by the New York Congregation. But he adds the bells are separate from that trust, and their ownership remains an open question.
Closing arguments in the trial are set to begin next Monday.
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