The Touro Legacy

The oldest synagogue in the US celebrates its 247th anniversary this Hanukka, with a hint of good things to come.

By DAVID GEFFEN
November 26, 2010 15:20
The Touro Synagogue in Newport Rhode Island

Touro Synagogue Newport 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Hanukka this year marks the 247th anniversary of the dedication of the oldest synagogue building in the US. The synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, received a major endowment in 1854 in the estate of Judah Touro, whose father Isaac was the cantor of that synagogue prior to the American Revolutionary War. The building was then labeled the Touro Synagogue. Touro also left $60,000 for the construction of Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem, a notable building dedicated 150 years ago.

The Newport synagogue was first used in December 1763 during Hanukka. In the 1940s the building was placed on the National Historical Register of the US. It is the only synagogue building that has appeared on an American and an Israeli stamp. The American stamp was issued in 1982 just before Rosh Hashana, and the Israeli stamp appeared in 1988 as a series of stamps for Rosh Hashana.

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