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“May the Father of All Mercies Scatter Light and Not Darkness…”: George Washington’s letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, 1790

2011 February 22

Nothing else stands as a welcome to the Jews of the New World– for that matter, as an expression of the spirit of freedom and possibility of that  new “City on the Hill”– as does George Washington’s letter to the Newport, Rhode Island Congregation on 1790.

On this, Washington’s two hundred and seventy ninth birthday, its worth (re)reading the exchange of letters between the president of the Newport congregation and the President of The United States of America – click here.  What prevailed south of what would become a border between two nations has likewise prevailed here in Canada – and, unfortunately, not in all that many other places in recent centuries.

We on freedom’s shores are fortunate and grateful: We’ve known far more light than darkness, thanks to the urge for human liberty and dignity (even if imperfect and incomplete) on the part of the Washingtons of the day.

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