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Kramer Levin Touro Synagogue Win One of The American Lawyer’s Featured 2016 Pro Bono Matters

July 6, 2017

Kramer Levin’s historic win on behalf of Congregation Jeshuat Israel of Touro Synagogue was featured as one of The American Lawyer’s 17 Pro Bono Matters that Big Law Championed for 2016.

In 2016, a federal judge in Rhode Island ruled in favor of Congregation Jeshuat Israel in a dispute with a New York City congregation over the ownership of Touro synagogue, the nation’s oldest synagogue, and the ownership of silver bells called rimonim, which were made by colonial silversmith Myer Myers and valued at $7.4 million. Congregation Jeshuat Israel sought to sell the bells and create an endowment to preserve the historic synagogue. New York City-based Congregation Shearith Israel had aggressively opposed any sale of the bells, sought ownership of both the bells and Touro Synagogue, and sought to evict Congregation Jeshuat Israel. The federal judge found not only that Congregation Jeshuat Israel owns the bells and may sell them, but that the New York congregation, on account of its efforts to gain ownership of the synagogue and evict Congregation Jeshuat, should be removed as trustee of the charitable trust holding Touro Synagogue. The ruling followed nearly four years of litigation and a two week bench trial that concluded in September 2015.

The Kramer Levin team consisted of Litigation partners Gary P. Naftalis and Jonathan M. Wagner, special counsel Tobias B. Jacoby, associates Daniel P. Schumeister and Catherine Hoge and law clerk Harry Morgenthau.

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