The Loeb Visitors Center
Share the Vision
The Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Visitors Center at the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island stands at the corner of time and history. Physically located at Spring and Touro Streets, on the campus of the National Landmark Touro Synagogue, the Loeb Visitors Center and Exhibit Hall celebrates all of our first amendment rights. It most specifically illuminates America’s guaranteed right of religious freedom and the clear separation of church and state.
— George Washington, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, RI
Newport and the colony of Rhode Island are the places where the ideas and ideals of religious liberty, tolerance of belief, and the separation of church and state were first practiced in the Americas. The Rhode Island colony was certainly the first political entity, perhaps in the world, to mandate the separation of church and state. The Loeb Visitors Center was built to commemorate the development of these concepts and marks the role of the Jewish people in helping to build the multi-cultural foundations of a new nation. By bringing these ideals to an open, public forum and by encouraging the teaching of the stories to be found in our exhibits and materials, we hope to strengthen the commitment of future generations to these shared values. George Washington wrote to the Quaker assembly in 1789: