Touro Synagogue National Historic Site

Quick Facts

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site

Rhode Island

(620) 658-4445

Map Directions

Things To Do

 

Overview

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.

Map of Touro Synagogue

Latitude, Longitude: 41.489418, -71.311993

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Activities

  • Historic Sites

    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. A trap door under the bimah is symbolic of their fear and apprehension. But in America they, like millions of others, found the religious toleration they had so long sought. In his famous letter to "The Hebrew Congregation in Newport," written in 1790, President George Washington pledged that the new nation would" give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance" and thereby set the standard for religious freedom and civil liberties in America. The synagogue was designed by noted colonial architect Peter Harrison and is considered one of the finest examples of 18th century architecture in America. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1946. Today, it continues to serve an active congregation.

Seasonality/Weather

New England weather is subject to rapid change. Temperature during the summer is in the 70s to 90s, and during spring and fall in the 50s to 70s.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

Touro Synagogue is located in downtown Newport, close to the intersection of Spring and Touro Streets, and Washington Square. The Synagogue encourages visitors to park at the Newport Gateway Center. From the Gateway Center Touro Synagogue is a pleasant 10 minute walk through the colonial town center. Visitors can also take advantage of the Newport Trolley which provides (for a modest fee) transportation throughout Newport. The City of Newport also has several public pay lots.

Public Transportation

Touro Synagogue is a five minute walk from Newport's Gateway Center, a visitor information center, which is also a bus station.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(620) 658-4445

Links