Truman Congratulates Newport Jews on Dedication of Touro Synagogue As Shrine

President Truman today sent a message to the Jewish Congregation of Newport, R.I., congratulating it on the dedication of historic Touro Synagogue as a national shrine. The dedication ceremonies will take place on Sunday, Aug. 31.

“It is fortunate that the venerable fabric of this synagogue, opened Dec. 2, 1763,” Mr. Truman’s message read, “is still in use and admired by all lovers of good architecture. The setting apart of this historic shrine as a national monument is symbolic of our tradition of freedom which has inspired men and women of every creed, (##)ace and ancestry to contribute their highest gifts to the development of our national culture. I trust through long centuries to come that the spirit of good will and tolerance will ever dominate the hearts and minds of the American people.”

Participants in the dedication ceremonies will include Speaker of the House Joseph W. Martin, Jr., Carl Van Doren, noted historian, Dr. and Mrs. David de Sola Pool, Governor of Rhode Island John O. Pastore, Senator Theodore Green, the Mayor of Newport and many other notables.

The first Jewish settlers in Rhode Island were Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had fled the Inquisition. In 1658, at the invitation of Roger Williams, they came to Rhode Island from New Amsterdam where they had settled four years earlier. George Washington uttered his famous line, “Happily, the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction,” on the steps of the Touro Synagogue in 1790.

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