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]