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    Annual reading of Washington’s Letter to the Touro Synagogue

    Annual reading of Washington’s Letter to the Touro Synagogue

    I’ve written previously about George Washington’s 1790 letter to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, in my post Passover Is No Time To Wish For The End Of Christian America

    Washington’s letter should be required reading, but I doubt many people have read it.

    But today in Newport the letter was read out loud as it is annually, as reported by The Providence Journal:

    Dignitaries, Jewish leaders and ordinary citizens will crowd into Touro Synagogue on Sunday for the annual reading of George Washington’s historic letter to the “Hebrew congregation in Newport.”

    But as tribute is paid to the first president’s famous words assuring religious freedom — “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance” — the original 1790 letter is mysteriously kept hidden away….

    Here is part of the text of the letter:

    May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

    An image of the rarely seen original is here.  [Note 2-27-2012 – link broken since ProJo went behind a paywall and killed all prior public links]


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    Kerrvillian | August 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    What I see of significance in Washington’s words is “there shall be none to make him afraid”.

    The Founding President and Father of our nation did not say “let us make afraid he who owns private jets”.

    He did not say “let us make some pay for others to live without working”.

    Instead he wrote “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree”. His own. Not his neighbors. Not his taxed vine and figtree robbed to give to those without figs”.

    He would be very, very disappointed by how far from the original vision we have fallen.

    LukeHandCool | August 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Makes me feel even more proud to call him the father of our country. We were blessed.

    Valerie | August 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Oh, well said, on both sides! Thank you for posting them. This was a new bit of our history for me.

    DINORightMarie | August 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I only wish there was a LIKE button. Thank you for the inspiration. May we be blessed again with such a great leader. 🙂

    When I think of President Washington and compare him to many of the ones who followed him, I am ashamed. Our Country has slid backwards. It is time to correct this course.

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