Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said at the annual reading of George Washington’s letter on religious liberty that she never felt like she was “less of an American” because of her Judaism.
Kagan spoke Sunday at the reading of the 1790 letter written by Washington to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, RI, in which the first US president offered a statement on religious liberty and affirmed rights and privileges generally unknown to Jews elsewhere at the time.
It was the 66th consecutive year that the letter has been read aloud at the synagogue.
Kagan said the letter was not written casually because Washington would have known his words would be scrutinized closely for lessons about the new government’s perspective on religious freedom, according to the Providence Journal.
The New York native said the fact that the granddaughter of Yiddish-speaking Russian immigrants to America could become a US Supreme Court justice is something that could happen “only because of America and its unprecedented promise of political liberty.”
Kagan joined the high court in August 2010.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.