On December 2, 1763, the first and oldest synagogue in the United States, the Touro Synagogue, was dedicated
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 2 of December, repeating indefinitely
On December 2, 1763, the first and oldest synagogue in the United States, the Touro Synagogue, was dedicated in Newport, Rhode Island.
The congregation was famously addressed by President George Washington in a 1790 letter affirming religious liberty in the new nation:
“All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
Did you know? Before the establishment of the Touro Synagogue, the Jewish community of Newport had existed in the city since the mid-1600s. Early inhabitants arrived from the Dutch West Indies.
Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur, Maurycy Gottlieb, 1878
-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer