George Washington, Jews.
Moses Seixes presenting the letter from Hebrew Congregation of Newport to President George Washington, August 18, 1790. Photo by Steve Brosnahan, George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom
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During a lecture in England last December, Jonathan Sarna, America’s foremost scholar of American Jewish history, said he did not know the whereabouts of one of American Jewry’s most important documents: George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation, in Newport, Rhode Island.

More than a vital piece of American Jewish history, the letter is one of the primary documents guaranteeing religious tolerance in America, its famous words still quoted by community leaders and politicians whenever they want to underline America’s commitment to religious liberty.

But where is the letter?

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