On October 28th, one day after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the following dramatization of a 1790 letter from George Washington to the congregants of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, RI was performed was performed at a home in Brentwood, CA during our annual Fall Party to kick off our 11th Season. The compilation of pieces, arranged into our signature style of salon theatre, is called JEWS IN AMERICA.
The piece was adapted and written into the show months earlier…
A Letter from Washington to Hebrew Congregation
by President George Washington
FULL TEXT OF LETTER:
To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, 18 August 1790
While I received, with much satisfaction, your Address, replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people. The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. 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.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.