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Touro Synagogue (Newport Synagogue)

On More Perfect Unions

We have always been this bad. And we have always been better than this. Grappling with this contradiction has always been hard for us as American Jews, sometimes able to “pass” or be folded into the comforts of white privilege, sometimes abruptly and painfully othered

Rebecca Touro Lopez

Rebecca Touro Lopez successfully petitioned the Rhode Island State Legislature to preserve the Touro Synagogue of Newport, one of the first cases of the government preserving an unoccupied historic building.

Newly dedicated Newport Synagogue introduces an open-view women's gallery

December 2, 1763

The new synagogue dedicated in Newport, Rhode Island introduced a design that reflected women's changing status in "new world" Judaism.

Rebecca Touro Lopez

In 1824, Rebecca Touro petitioned the Rhode Island state legislature on behalf of preserving Touro Synagogue in Newport, the oldest synagogue building in North America and one that symbolizes Jewish survival and the American belief in religious freedom. At the time of her petition, no Jews were living in Newport, but her brother, Abraham Touro, had left the state ten thousand dollars to restore and maintain the synagogue. The synagogue, designed by the eminent colonial architect Peter Harrison, was not only a beautiful building, but represented a history of religious toleration, both in the Rhode Island colony founded by Roger Williams and in the new nation. Today, the synagogue is an active house of worship and, as a National Historic Site and National Trust Historic Site, draws thirty thousand visitors a year from all over the country and around the world.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Touro Synagogue (Newport Synagogue)." (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/touro-synagogue-newport-synagogue>.

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