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Of the state’s 16,000 Jews, 14,000 live in Providence. Jewish life started in the mid-17th century, when the first Sephardic Jews settled in Newport. That community prospered in the 18th century, and was recognized by George Washington (his letter of welcome still hangs in the synagogue). It later declined, and in the late 19th century Eastern European Jews settled in Providence, the main Jewish community in the state.

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