George Washington's Letter to Touro Synagogue
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Time Period
8/18/1790
Description
During President George Washington visit to Newport, R.I. in 1790, prominent Jews were among the community’s welcoming party.

Shortly after that visit, Washington sent an eloquent letter to Touro Synagogue, the local Jewish congregation, that is today regarded as his most ardent endorsement of religious pluralism and freedom. "Bigotry," he wrote, would be given "no sanction" and "persecution no assistance" by the federal government.

"May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree," Washington added.

The letter, dated Aug. 18, 1790, is a revered possession of what is now Touro Synagogue, the country’s oldest synagogue, and is read at an annual service there.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Judaism Family
Judaism Family: Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Newport, Rhode Island, Hebrew Congregation to George Washington- Library of Congress, Manuscript Division

Fascimile of Washington's letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island- Hathi Trust- from Young Israel, vol 1 (1908)

Touro Synagogue- Flickr- photo by Jimmy Emerson, DVM (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

George Washington portrait- New York Public Library Digital Collections

Touro Synagogue, 250th Anniversary Celebraton & George Washington Letter Reading- Flickr- photo by Governor Chafee (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Web Source(s)
http://tourosynagogue.org/history-learning/gw-letter
"George Washington and his Letter to the Jews of Newport"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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