NEWPORT – Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan’s keynote address will highlight the 66th annual reading of George Washington’s historic letter, “To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport.”
The program will be held on Sunday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m. at Touro Synagogue, in Newport.
The program, organized under the auspices of the Touro Synagogue Foundation and Congregation Jeshuat Israel, celebrates George Washington’s 1790 letter, written during his first visit to Rhode Island as president of the United States. In the letter, President Washington affirmed the new national government’s absolute commitment to the free exercise of religion, which he regarded as an “inherent natural right.” The federal government, he stated, “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”
A July 29 release from Touro Synagogue stated that Bernard Gewirz, of Washington, D.C., will read the George Washington letter; the Seixas letter to which President Washington replied, will by read by Rabbi Albert Gabbai of Congregation Mikveh Israel, in Philadelphia.
Rabbi Dr. Marc Mandel, rabbi of Congregation Jeshuat Israel, will give the invocation and Reverend John Hanson of the United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial, will give the benediction. Newport Music Festival soprano, Erin Merceruio, will present a musical interlude and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) will serve as the master of ceremonies. A reception will be held in Patriots Park immediately following the program.
Seating is limited; reservations required. Overflow seating with simulcast viewing will be at an adjacent church.
RSVP: 847-4794, ext. 207 or visit tourosynagogue.org.