George Washington

President George Washington visited the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, on August 18, 1790. Built in 1763, the Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the US. At that time, various churches, congregations, and religious institutions wrote letters to congratulate the first US president upon his election. Following his visit to the New England synagogue, Washington responded to the Newport Jewish community in a historic letter documenting his expression of religious liberty and freedom in the United States. Here is an excerpt:

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” – President George Washington