24 2023

Early American Jews Pt. 1: The Touro Synagogue: Shrine to Religious Freedom

10:45AM - 11:45AM  

This Federation event takes place at Knesset Israel 16 Colt Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Contact Rabbi Daveen Litwin

Join Fitchburg State Professor Michael Hoberman for a two-part series on the present-day legacy of early Jewish American history. The first session on August 24 will focus on the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI.

Built and dedicated in 1763, Touro Synagogue is now a shrine to religious freedom and Jewish belonging in the US. How do we remember its history, and what does its legacy mean to us in the present?

In this presentation, Professor Hoberman tells the story of the oldest synagogue in North America, concentrating attention on how its history is remembered and interpreted in the present-day. Visitors to the Touro Synagogue hear about links between Newport's earliest Jews and the tradition of religious tolerance promoted by figures such as Roger Williams and George Washington, but they also learn that Newport's most prosperous Jews bought and sold slaves. How have the stories that we tell about Newport's Jews changed over the years, and why does that matter?

This free program is part of the Federation’s Connecting with Community Series and will be followed by a kosher hot lunch. Lunch is a $3 suggested donation for adults over 60 years of age or $7 for all others. Advance reservations are required for lunch and can be made by calling (413) 442-2200 before 9 a.m. on the day of the program.

Masks are optional.