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Amsterdam Shul Wins Case

The Amsterdam Ashkenazi congregation has won its case against the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam over possession of three valuable items of Judaica.

The Dutch Ministry of Culture had previously ruled that the three items could not be removed from the building by their owner without the express permission of the museum.

But the Dutch Council of State, the country’s highest legal authority, agreed with the synagogue, which had argued that the ruling ran contrary to the principles of religious freedom. The council overturned the ministry’s decision.

The objects are a 17th-century Torah shrine in the Great Synagogue, which is now part of the museum, a large silver menorah donated to the congregation in 1753, and a 13th-century holiday prayerbook that was donated to the congregation in 1669.

The Culture Ministry had ruled that these objects were so important to Dutch culture that they must never be moved, not even temporarily.