Colonial Jewish Burying Ground. Photo by Lew Keen

Newport is home not only to the oldest surviving Jewish house of worship in the United States, Touro Synagogue (1763), but also to the country’s oldest surviving Jewish burying ground, established in 1677 to serve Newport’s early Hebrew congregation.


Update: August 13 – This event has been canceled.


Once a year, the gates to the Colonial Jewish Burying Ground, located at the intersection of Kay Street, Touro Street, and Bellevue Avenue, are opened to the public.  All are welcome to visit this historic site on Sunday, August 15 between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., weather permitting. A $5 donation per person is requested.

Colonial Jewish Burying Ground. Photo by Lew Keen

Immortalized in poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Emma Lazarus, the cemetery features an Egyptian revival gate and gravestones for members of Newport’s original Jewish community. Visitors will view stones that are lettered in Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, Ladino, and English, and view the final resting place of Moses Seixas, the author of the letter that welcomed President George Washington to the city in 1790, prompting Washington’s historic response in which he promised that the government of the United Sates would give “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Guides will be on hand to answer questions and provide additional information about the site.

Those who are unable to visit the burying ground on August 15 are encouraged to view the  5-minute ‘virtual tour’ of the site which may be seen on the Touro Synagogue Facebook page (see “Videos” page). Information about the burying ground is also available on the “History” page of tourosyangogue.org.

While the Touro Synagogue grounds will not be open for regular site tours on Sunday, August 15, a Colonial Jewish Walking Tour is planned for 11:15 am, weather permitting. The tour takes approximately one hour, and the fee is $15 per person. Please email tours@tourosynagogue.org or phone (401) 847-4794 ext. 207 for more information or to reserve a space on the tour.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.