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Heritage Civilization and the Jews
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Newport, RI
Synagogue From the beginning, the American colonies were religiously and ethnically diverse. Jews came to the colonies starting in 1654 seeking business opportunities and religious refuge. Synagogues were at the heart of colonial Jewish life, providing their members not only with religious community, but also basic education, kosher food, and social welfare services. The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest standing synagogue in America.

Visit the Touro Synagogue, a colonial synagogue built in 1759. This presentation requires Macromedia Flash.

News Paper ClipBuilding Community
Immigrant neighborhoods in New York City were bustling places. Jewish immigrants created their own synagogues, social clubs, charities, and newspapers. These institutions, though preserving some of the ties and traditions of the Old Country, were quick to adapt to the changing needs and tastes of their immigrant members.

Read the advertising page from a 1914 Yiddish newspaper for a glance at Jewish immigrant life in New York City. This presentation requires Macromedia Flash.

Timeline: American Judaism
American Judaism
In the years between the two World Wars, many American synagogues, especially those outside New York City, continued to blend ritual Orthodoxy with some Reform and Conservative practices, such as mixed seating. However, during this period, the distinctions between Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism became sharper as the groups developed their ideologies and built the institutions that gave those ideas concrete form.


Follow a timeline of the development of American Judaism between the wars. This presentation requires Macromedia Flash.


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