By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)— It’s only 337 words, but is considered to be one of the most important documents in America’s history.

Beginning this Friday, you’ll be able to see it at the National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall.

“It’s a fabulous exploration of faith and freedom in America, organized around a letter George Washington wrote to the Jewish community in Newport in 1790,” says Josh Perelman, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the museum.

washington inset Positively Philadelphia: George Washington Exhibit At Jewish History Museum

(Detail of Washington letter provided by NMAJH courtesy of the Morris Morgenstern Foundation)

Perelman adds that the new exhibit, “To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom,” also has letters Washington wrote to other religious groups.

“We today kind of assume we have this particular set of freedoms, but in the early era of America’s formation, folks could not assume that,” he said.

The document is so old,  it can only be displayed three months at a time.

“We live at a time when religion is a fundamental part of our discourse,” Perelman said. “This exhibition allows us to go back to the beginning, to look at a time when these freedoms were enshrined and to think about and remember where we began from, and the ideals that we all share.”

Yet another gleaming jewel in the history of America that people will be able to see right here in Philadelphia.

Hear Lauren Lipton’s full interview with Josh Perelman in this CBS Philly podcast(Runs 7:21)…


That’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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