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Touro Synagogue forced to cancel public tours

NEW YORK (JTA) — Touro Synagogue, the nation’s oldest Jewish house of worship, canceled public tours because of financial difficulties.

The last two paid staff members of the Newport, R.I., synagogue were let go last week, according to the Providence Journal.

Plans to open a museum of American Jewish history at the site this summer will go forward. Group tours already scheduled for the summer will take place, but no new ones will be booked, said a spokesman for the nonprofit foundation that runs the project.

Touro is a major tourist destination, especially for Jewish visitors. It was built in 1763 and declared a national historic site in the 1940s. In 2001, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated it as the nation’s first religious historic site.

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