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Rhode Island
Region
Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
TOURO SYNAGOGUE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
TOURO SYNAGOGUE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
85 Touro Street
Newport, Rhode Island   02840

Phone: 401-847-4794
Email:
The oldest synagogue in the United States

The Touro Synagogue was dedicated in 1762, and serves an active congregation today. The congregation was founded in 1658 by Sephardim who fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal and were searching for a haven from religious persecution in the Caribbean. Today, the synagogue celebrates not only their story, but serves to honor all who came to this shore seeking to worship freely.
History of the Area
Touro Synagogue, dedicated in 1762, is the oldest synagogue in the United States and the only one that survives from the colonial era. The congregation was founded in 1658 by Sephardim, descendants of Marranos who fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal and who were themselves seeking a haven from religious persecution in the Caribbean. They came to the the Colony of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations because of the assurance of freedom of religion and liberty of conscience promised by Roger Williams to all who came within its borders

When the British captured Newport in 1776 and shut down the maritime trades, most Jews left. The Synagogue became a hospital for British troops until the French liberated the town. In 1781, George Washington met Generals Lafayette and Rochembeau in Newport to plan the final battles of the Revolution. It was on that visit, that General Washington attended a town meeting in the Synagogue.

In 1790, the congregation of the Synagogue wrote a letter to President Washington, expressing their good wishes, and asking his views on their continued peaceful existence in Newport. Washington replied in a letter to "The Hebrew Congregation in Newport," that:

. . . happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

With this statement, Washington set the standard for religious freedom and civil liberties in America.

In 1946, the Touro Synagogue was designated a National Historic Site. Today, it continues to serve an active congregation.


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Area Campgrounds

Worden Pond Family Campground
416A Worden Pond Road
Wakefield, RI


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Captain Farris Bed and Breakfast Inn - South Yarmouth, MABBs / Inns
a unique and beautiful bed breakfast inn voted One of New England's Best by Fodor's Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ideally located on mid Cape Cod in the historic Bass River Village of South Yarmouth Only 90 Minutes From Boston Or Providence
Web Site: captainfarris.com/
59 miles from park*
Carriage House Inn - Chatham, MABBs / Inns
Carriage House Inn, a romantic Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts. The Carriage House Inn offers spacious grounds, beautifully appointed guestrooms and gracious hospitality. Start your morning with a hot cup of coffee or tea in your room. Relax beside your fireplace or in one of the rocking chairs outside with your morning newspaper delivered to your door. Then, come over to the dining room or the sunroom for a truly gourmet breakfast. However you decide to spend the rest of your day is up to you. The innkeepers will surely make your vacation experience a memorable one.
Web Site: thecarriagehouseinn.com/
71.5 miles from park*
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Directions
From the north and east (Boston and New England):Take Route 128S to Route 24S. Stay on 24S to Fall River. Entering Fall River, take Route 195W and almost immediately exit back onto 24S (Watch the signs carefully here!). Take Route 24 till it ends and merges on to 114S. Although not marked, this route is called West Main Road. Later, as you enter Newport, it becomes Broadway. Stay on this road for its entire length, approximately 8 miles, till you enter Washington Square in downtown Newport. There will be a park on your left. The road ends at a pedestrian mall. A "Pier One Imports" store will be directly in front of you and a "Banana Republic" store on your left. Make a left turn and then immediately, turn left again. You will now be going back up the square on the other side of the park. This is Touro Street. Go straight through the next intersection, which is Spring Street. The Synagogue is the second building on the left.

From the south and west (New York and Connecticut):Take I-95 North to Exit 3A in Rhode Island (138 East). Stay on route 138 across the Jamestown and Newport Bridges. Take the first exit off the Newport Bridge, marked "Downtown Newport." Bear right at the end of the ramp and go through the first traffic light. At the second light bear left. Go through several stop signs. At the next light, a "Pier One Imports" store will be on you right, turn left. This is Touro Street. Go straight through the next intersection which is Spring Street. The Synagogue is the second building on the left.

USA Parks
Rhode Island
Region
Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
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