Jewish groups challenging Fla. synagogue over $3 million bequest

(JTA) — Jewish organizations are challenging a merged synagogue in Boca Raton, Fla., for a $3 million bequest.

Hadassah, ORT, Americans for Peace Now and the Blumenthal Home for the Aged in North Carolina are challenging the estate of Nathaniel Rosenfeld, who lived in South Carolina and died in 1997, the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reported.

A hearing is set for Jan. 20 in a South Carolina court to determine if the matter goes to trial.

Rosenfeld instructed his two sisters to name the charities to benefit from his estate, which would receive the bequests after his wife died. She passed away in 2012.

The sisters directed 89 percent of the estate to Congregation Beth Tikvah, which they helped found. They also agreed to allocate 7 percent for ORT, 2 percent for the Blumenthal Home for the Aged,  and 1 percent each for Americans for Peace Now and Hadassah. Both the sisters have died.

Beth Tikvah merged with Congregation Shaarei Kodesh in 2007, and the combined Conservative congregation took on the name Shaarei Kodesh, according to the Sun Sentinel. The congregations neglected, however, to file articles of merger with the state, and the Rosenfeld trust said the Jewish organizations chosen by his sisters had to exist in compliance with IRS charity codes at the time of his death, otherwise Blumenthal, Hadassah and ORT were to receive equal shares.

Shaarei Kodesh says it is the legitimate successor to Beth Tikvah and should receive the Rosenfeld bequest.

The synagogue through its attorney has asked the Palm Beach County Circuit Court to make a declaratory judgment to confirm Shaarei Kodesh as eligible to receive the funds designated for Beth Tikvah.

 

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