Washington letter to go back on display

(JTA) — A 1790 letter decrying bigotry from George Washington to a synagogue in Rhode Island will go back on public display for the first time in a decade.


In the letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, Washington said that America would give “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” It will be part of an exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History, opening on June 29, according to the Forward, which has been pressing for the letter to be returned to public display.

The letter is on loan to the museum in Philadelphia for the next three years.

It is widely regarded as Washington’s most eloquent statement on religious liberty, according to the Forward. 

The letter had been on display in the Klutznick Museum at B’nai B’rith International headquarters. In 2002 it was put in storage when the organization moved to smaller offices. The Forward revealed more than a year ago that the letter was being held in an art storage facility in Maryland, and began campaigning for its return to public view. 

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