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Prosecutor blasts court for decision on oldest U.S. synagogue

Thu., Sept. 7, 2017, 7:58 p.m.

In this  May 28, 2015  photo, the Touro Synagogue, the nation's oldest, stands in Newport, R.I. (Stephan Savoia / ASSOCIATED PRESS)
In this May 28, 2015 photo, the Touro Synagogue, the nation's oldest, stands in Newport, R.I. (Stephan Savoia / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island’s attorney general is criticizing an appeals court decision handing ownership of the nation’s oldest synagogue to a congregation in New York, saying it ignored state law and “overwhelming evidence” presented at trial and strips the Jewish community in Newport of the historic site.

Democrat Peter Kilmartin filed papers Thursday supporting a rehearing of the Touro Synagogue case at the appeals court in Boston.

The New York congregation is the nation’s oldest Jewish congregation. It was victorious in the bitter fight with the congregation that worships at Touro.

Kilmartin says the litigation is of “exceptional importance” to the people of Rhode Island and the nation. He says last month’s decision jeopardizes the goal of ensuring Touro remains an active place of worship for Newport’s Jewish community.