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S.Con.Res. 17 (es) [Engrossed in Senate] ...


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107th CONGRESS
  1st Session
S. CON. RES. 16

 Expressing the sense of Congress that the George Washington letter to 
 Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, which is on display at the 
 B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., is 
 one of the most significant early statements buttressing the nascent 
        American constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           February 15, 2001

     Mr. Chafee (for himself and Mr. Reed) submitted the following 
   concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the 
                               Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION


 
 Expressing the sense of Congress that the George Washington letter to 
 Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, which is on display at the 
 B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., is 
 one of the most significant early statements buttressing the nascent 
        American constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.

Whereas George Washington responded to a letter sent by Moses Seixas, warden of 
        Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1790;
Whereas, although Touro Synagogue, the oldest Jewish house of worship in the 
        United States, and now a national historic site, was dedicated in 
        December 1763, Jewish families had been in Newport for over 100 years 
        before that date;
Whereas these Jews, some of whom were Marranos, came to the United States with 
        hopes of starting a new life in this country, where they could practice 
        their religious beliefs freely and without persecution;
Whereas they were drawn to the Colony of Rhode Island and the Providence 
        Plantations because of Governor Roger Williams' assurances of religious 
        liberty;
Whereas the letter from Touro Synagogue is the most famous of many 
        congratulatory notes addressed to the new president by American Jewish 
        congregations;
Whereas Seixas articulated the following principle, which Washington repeated in 
        his letter: ``For happily the Government of the United States, which 
        gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance; requires 
        only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves 
        as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual 
        support'';
Whereas this was the first statement of such a principle enunciated by a leader 
        of the new United States Government;
Whereas this principle has become the cornerstone of United States religious and 
        ethnic toleration as it has developed during the past two centuries;
Whereas the original letter is on display as part of the permanent collection of 
        the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C.; 
        and
Whereas Americans of all religious faiths gather at Touro Synagogue each August 
        on the anniversary of the date of the letter's delivery and at the 
        Klutznick Museum on George Washington's birthday to hear readings of the 
        letter and to discuss how the letter's message can be applied to 
        contemporary challenges: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 
That it is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) the George Washington letter to Touro Synagogue in 
        Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1790, which is on display as 
        part of the permanent collection of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick 
        National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., is one of the most 
        significant early statements buttressing the nascent American 
        constitutional guarantee of religious freedom; and
            (2) the text of the George Washington letter should be 
        widely circulated, serving as an important tool for teaching 
        tolerance to children and adults alike.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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