TITLE 35
Public Finance

CHAPTER 35-9
Touro Funds

SECTION 35-9-1


§ 35-9-1 Abraham Touro fund.

The following act as passed by the general assembly in June, 1823, and amended in June, 1827, and June, 1834, and subsequently amended, shall continue in force:

"Whereas, it has been made to appear to this general assembly, upon the representation of Titus Weeks, Esq., executor of the last will and testament of Abraham Touro, Esq., of the city of Boston, in the state of Massachusetts, that the said Abraham by his last will bequeathed a legacy in the following words, viz.: "Item. – I give ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to the legislature of the state of Rhode Island for the purpose of supporting the Jewish synagogue in that state; in special trust to be appropriated to that object in such manner as the said legislature, together with the municipal authority of the town of Newport, may from time to time direct and appoint':

"Therefore,

"§ 1. Be it enacted by the general assembly, and by the authority thereof it is enacted, That said legacy and trust be and hereby are accepted by the general assembly; and the general treasurer is authorized and directed to apply for and receive from said executor the said legacy or donation of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), to give all proper receipts and acquittances therefor upon receipt thereof, and as soon as possible to vest the same entire in the stocks of some substantial bank or banks, or in some of the United States stocks; and thereafter cause the same to be invested by the state investment commission in accordance with the prudent investor rule and the certificates or evidences of such stock shall be carefully kept by said general treasurer in his or her office or by a custodian. It shall be the duty of said general treasurer once in every year to report to the general assembly the state of said fund.

"§ 2. And be it further enacted, that the city council of Newport may, and it shall be their duty to cause all repairs to be made, which in their opinions shall be necessary and proper, upon said Jewish synagogue, upon the walls enclosing the Jewish burying ground in Newport appertaining to the synagogue, and thereafter, so far as funds may be available, to apply the same toward the maintenance of that part of the synagogue premises known as the community building and to pay such other expenses as said city council may deem necessary and proper, the total expenditures herein authorized, however, not to exceed in any twelve (12) month period, four and one-half percent (41/2%) of the value of the Abraham Touro fund as measured on March 31 of each such period; provided, that all said expenditures shall be first approved by the president or vice president and by the secretary or treasurer of the board of officers of the Congregation Jeshuat Israel, worshiping in said synagogue, and by any one (1) of the trustees selected by said congregation under the provisions of § 7 of this act; and whenever there shall be no person of the Jewish persuasion residing in Newport and qualified and authorized to have the care and superintendence of said synagogue, said council shall appoint some suitable person or persons for that purpose, with such compensation as said council with the approbation of the general assembly, shall think reasonable; and provided, further, that nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize said city council or any other person whatever in any manner to interfere with or restrain the full and free exercise of the Jewish religion in said synagogue by any individual of that faith residing in Newport, or to interrupt the possession, control and management with which the proprietors of said synagogue and premises, or any other persons according to the laws and customs of the Jews, may be vested.

"§ 3. And be it further enacted, that it shall be the duty of said city council, from time to time as occasion shall present, to recommend to the general assembly such measures and provisions as in their opinion shall be best calculated to promote and fulfill the object and intention of the donor, the said Touro, as expressed in his said will, in supporting and advancing said Jewish institution.

"§ 4. And be it further enacted that the city council of Newport be, and they are hereby authorized from time to time, as occasion may require, to draw on the general treasurer in each twelve (12) month period, an amount not to exceed in any such period four and one half percent (41/2%) of the value of the Abraham Touro fund as measured on March 31 of each such period, to pay for the expenditures authorized under § 2 hereof, and that said council shall make detailed report of their expenditures to the general assembly annually at the January session.

"§ 5. The state investment commission shall have the care and management of this fund, with full power to regulate the custody and safekeeping of all moneys and evidences of property belonging thereto; it shall invest, subject to its order, to the use of this fund, all dividends, interest, or income arising therefrom in accordance with the prudent investor rule, and it may sell and dispose of any or all of such investments so made, when necessary to meet the draft of the city council of Newport as provided in § 4 of this act.

"§ 6. The general treasurer is authorized and directed to expend the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000) out of the Abraham Touro fund towards the purchase of a parcel of land in the city of Newport and the construction of a building and other improvements thereon to be used in connection with the Jewish synagogue in said city.

"§ 7. The title to the said premises and the improvements thereon shall be vested in five (5) trustees, consisting of the general treasurer of the state of Rhode Island, the mayor of the city of Newport, and three (3) other persons to be selected by the Congregation Jeshuat Israel, a religious and educational corporation created under the laws of the state of Rhode Island, and now worshiping in said synagogue.

"§ 8. The selection of the trustees set forth in § 7 shall be subject to the approval of the superior court of the state of Rhode Island, and they shall hold the said premises for all time hereafter in accordance with the provisions, objects and purposes expressed in the said last will and testament of said Abraham Touro, deceased.

"§ 9. The trustees selected from time to time as set forth in § 7 and approved by the superior court of the state of Rhode Island, as provided for in § 8, shall have power at any and all times, for the purpose of obtaining money with which to pay for the construction of a building and other improvements provided for in § 6, to mortgage the parcel of land purchased under the provisions of said section together with any building or buildings and other improvements that may be constructed thereon and to sign all deeds, notes or other instruments which may be necessary to effect the mortgage of the same.

"§ 10. Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 9 of title 35 to the contrary, on or after July 1, 1995, the president or vice president and the secretary or the treasurer of the board of officers of the Congregation Jeshuat Israel worshipping in said synagogue are hereby authorized from time to time, as occasion may require, to draw on the general treasurer in each twelve (12) month period, an amount not to exceed in any such period four and one-half percent (41/2%) of the value of the Abraham Touro fund as measured on March 31 of each such period to pay for expenditures authorized by said Congregation in conformance with its charter and bylaws, without the necessity of first obtaining the approval of the city council of Newport. The aforementioned officers of the Congregation shall annually make a detailed report of said expenditures to the city council of Newport."

History of Section.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 83, § 1; P.L. 1901, ch. 809, § 15; P.L. 1908, ch. 1537, §§ 1-3; G.L. 1909, ch. 98, § 1; P.L. 1914, ch. 1066, §§ 1-3; P.L. 1914, ch. 1066, § 5; P.L. 1921, ch. 2078, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 110, § 1; P.L. 1928, ch. 1149, § 1; P.L. 1929, ch. 1410, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 647, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 35-9-1; P.L. 1971, ch. 292, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 204, § 1.)