AMERICA’S OLDEST STANDING SYNAGOGUE
December 2nd, 1763, Members of the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island witnessed the dedication of the Touro Synagogue, the oldest standing synagogue building in the United States. It is the only synagogue to survive from the colonial era. The synagogue was designed by Newport citizen Peter Harrison. At the onset of the American Revolution, many of the congregants fled Newport, leaving behind Isaac Touro – the prayer leader of the synagogue. Touro and his family continued to watch over the synagogue. His sons Abraham and Judah expanded and maintained the building. In 1822 after the death of Abraham, the street where the synagogue stood was renamed Touro Street, and subsequently the building began to be referred to publicly as “Touro(‘s) Synagogue”. The building, which is still in use today, is a National Historical Site and serves as a landmark in American Jewish history.