Photo by Michael Wald (Alamy Stock Photo)

Touro Synagogue Foundation announces the second program of its Winter 2022-2023 Judah Touro Program Series, which will explore the architecture and interior of the 1675 Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, the Esnoga, a building with a direct influence on the architecture of the 1763 Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, America’s oldest surviving Jewish house of worship.  Dutch professor, Dr. Pieter Vlaardingerbroek, will present this illustrated talk, live from Amsterdam, on Thursday, January 12 at noon, via Zoom. There is no fee to participate, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom login information.

Most of the Jewish immigrants arriving in Amsterdam at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century were Conversos or Crypto Jews, who, under the duress of the inquisitions in Spain and Portugal, had given up the practice of Judaism or had practiced it in secrecy. They were attracted to Amsterdam for the Dutch policy of religious toleration, first articulated there in 1579. For many whose lives in their homelands had been shattered by intolerance and persecution, Amsterdam offered a safe place to resurrect their religious identities. As a result, the city became an epicenter for a new version of Western Sephardic (Spanish/Portuguese) culture, architecture, and religious practice that strongly influenced Newport’s first Jewish settlers.

Pieter Vlaardingerbroek, Ph.D., is a leading expert on Dutch architecture and material culture. He is an architectural historian for the City of Amsterdam, having served in a similar position for the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. He is an Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Conservation at the University of Utrecht. Professor Vlaardingerbroek is the author of many articles and books and served as editor for the definitive volume on the Portuguese Sephardic synagogue, The Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, published by the City of Amsterdam in 2013.

To reserve for the January 12 presentation, please visit the “Program & Events” page at, where you may find recordings of other past programs, or use this link:
For more information or assistance with registration, please contact Meryle Cawley at (401) 847-4794, extension 207, or