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Court Upholds Massachusetts Temple’s Building Plans

Temple Mishkan Tefila, of Roxbury, largest Conservative synagogue in New England, has won a round in its fight against Newton’s mayor, Howard Whit more, Jr., who wants to stop the congregation from erecting a new temple here.

Judge Daniel T. O’Connell, of the Suffolk Superior Court, this week-end ruled in favor of the congregation, on a suit against the mayor. City Solicitor Matt B. Jones announced he would appeal Judge O’Connell’s ruling to the State Supreme Judicial Court, but the congregation is proceeding with building plans which it hopes to have completed before the approaching High Holidays.

The congregation purchased a 23-acre tract of park land for its planned new house of worship last month from the Metropolitan District Commission which held title to the land here. After the deed had been turned over to the congregation, Mayor Whitmore suddenly created a Park Commission. According to a State law, a Park Commission must approve the transfer of park lands. The new Park Commission vetoed the District Commission’s sale, the veto was immediately supported by Newton City Council, and Mayor Whitmore ordered the land sale to the congregation cancelled. The court invalidated the Mayor’s order.

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