Timeline of American Philanthropy

This extract from the Almanac of American Philanthropy is about the Touro Synagogue, a shrine to religious liberty.  As the oldest extant Jewish house of worship in America, dating from 1763, Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, would be famous under any circumstances. But Touro’s place in history was cemented when George Washington visited Newport to drum up support for passage of the Bill of Rights. Washington unveiled a vision of a nation where citizens of all faiths abide together under a government that “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Closing with imagery straight from the Old Testament, he expressed his wish that “the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants-while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

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