Change text size A

Write a Review About Newport For A Chance to Win A $100 Amazon Gift Card

Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI...America's first synagogue There has been a Jewish community in Newport since 1677, and it is believed that it may date back as far as 1656. The original settlers were Sephardic Jews who had been forced out of Spain by the Inquisition. They landed in New Amsterdam in the early 1600s and worked their way up the East Coast to Newport. Rhode Island was an oasis of tolerance in the otherwise intolerant colonies. The present building was dedicated in 1763. Peter Harrison was the architect, and the first rabbi, Isaac Tuoro, verbally gave him the description of a synagogue. This makes it the oldest synagogue in the United States. There are 12 pillars inside, one for each of the tribes of Israel. The men worshipped on the main floor along the walls, and the Torah was read from the center of the room. The woman worshipped from the second level. There are no stairs in the synagogue, so we wondered how the woman got up there. At the time of the American Revolution, there were 30 Jewish families in Newport, and this was their golden age: they were successful businessmen and ship-owners. This group was dispersed by the war, and the original community never came back, though individuals did. The synagogue survived the war because it was used by the British as a hospital, not because it was a house of worship. Later, it was used as a courthouse. Among the treasures on display here is a letter from President Washington guaranteeing the Jews of Newport freedom to practice their religion and a 500-year-old Torah believed to have been brought here by the first Sephartic Jews. The present community is descended from Askenazy Jews who came to this country from Eastern Europe. Through all its many incarnations, the Jews held the keys to the building, and it is believed that they opened the synagogue as a stop on the Underground Railroad. (there is a trapdoor in the center of the Beema where slaves are believed to have been hidden). In America , like millions of others, found the religious toleration they had so long sought. In his famous letter to "The Hebrew Congregation in Newport," written in 1790, President George Washington pledged that the new nation would" give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance" and thereby set the standard for religious freedom and civil liberties in America. Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI by dbking is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Newport Rhode Island
Overall Rating
Star ratings are calculated by averaging a community’s percentile score for each individual category.

Read more

3.83 out of 5 stars
See detailed scores arrow-d-ic

Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, located approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Fall River, Massachusetts, 73 miles (117 km) south of Boston, and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. It was a major 18th-century port city and also contains a high number of buildings from the Colonial era.The city is the county seat of Newport County, which has no governmental functions other than court administrative and sheriff corrections boundaries. It was known for being the location of the "Summer White Houses" during the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The population was 24,027 as of 2013.

Become a community envoy on Claim this city
Would you recommend Newport, RI
to your older friends and family?

reviews (5)

Sort by

It's a very close knit community. It's very family orientated and people stick together.

Was this review helpful? 0

The Newport area is a beautiful historic area, with a variety of facilities for eating leisure and community events and easy access to public transportation. This is an easy city to work in.

Was this review helpful? 0

Para un mejor trabajo

Was this review helpful? 0

Definitely Community Engagement, Very Clean, Nice Neighborhoods, And Great Education.

Was this review helpful? 0

It is a great place for families.

Was this review helpful? 0

Your photo has been submitted and will appear on the city page after Admin’s approval. Thanks!